Confessions from the Classroom: GnR Edition



One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    “I don’t mind spending 20 minutes helping a dozen 4-year-olds get into their snow gear. Or 5 minutes tying shoes. Or 2 minutes resolving a social conflict that will require 2 more minutes 2 minutes hence.”

    Kazzy, the word for this quality is “patience.” What would you have people do, who want to praise you for this quality?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      I don’t see anything troublesome or sufferable about any of that. Nothing which needs to be tolerated.

      A teacher who felt that way about those things would be like a doctor who was squeamish about blood or a mechanic who hated getting his hands greasy. We wouldn’t commend them for their patience in dealing with that. We’d expect them to as part of the gig.Report

      • Avatar Fnord says:

        The definition was “tolerate DELAY, trouble, or suffering”. Even if it’s not troublesome, it’s surely delay, right?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        But delayed from what? So if it takes us 20 minutes instead of 15 minutes to get snow gear on, that just means I get out to the playground at 11:20 instead of 11:15. It’s not like I get to go home early if the snow gear is on at 11:15. My job is to be there with the kids. All day. I don’t check things off an action item list. I just be. With the kiddos.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot says:

        You’re arguing with the dictionary, here, and I still can’t imagine what you’d have people do when they want to say something nice to you about your work. Patience is the ability to calmly attend to processes that would tend to irritate or fluster others.

        I get what you’re saying—people have a limited set of comments on hand to make when they encounter a teacher, or whoever, really. Telling Americans that I taught English invariably compelled the reply, “I guess I’d better watch my grammar!” as surely as sneezing invites a gesundheit. They don’t mean anything by it—they don’t even know what they mean.

        Incidentally, Japanese doesn’t really have a stock phrase like “thank you for your patience,” and trying to translate it exactly usually comes out weird, like “thank you for enduring that.” The Japanese word nintai-zuyoi really does hew closer to the negative nuance of “tolerating discomfort and trial.” People who compliment teachers on their patience don’t have this stoical nuance in mind, I think. Is there a word for the impulse to find a grain of insult in the fluff of such an anodyne remark?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        It is not so much insult as a failure on their part to really think about what they are saying. I have never pushed back against someone offering it because I recognize they are coming from a place of very positive intention. I just think the notion that “teachers = patient saints” is borne out of a lack of understanding of the work that teachers do and, if possible, I’d love to help correct that. I’d rather them laud my creativity or my love of children or the selflessness the job requires. The intentionality, thoughtfulness, and care.

        Of course, it doesn’t help that many teachers lack these qualities…Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @krogerfoot – totally OT, but NPR is streaming the new Swervedriver, which is surprisingly good.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot says:

        Well, I think a similarly persuasive case could be mounted against “selflessness,” but obviously we disagree about what people “should” say or think about teachers.

        I’m with you, though, on the idea that people ought to know and appreciate the work of teaching more. Another thread on this site featured some straight-faced arguments about pay and incentives for teachers that would be greeted with hilarity if made about literally any other profession. Teaching is something everyone has an opinion about, and everyone seems comfortable with dismissing teachers’ own opinions out of hand.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Hmm… I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on selflessness. Teaching… especially teaching young children as I do… pretty much requires one to put aside their own needs in service of another’s. It doesn’t matter if I’m frustrated or tired or whathaveyou… I’ve got to put that aside and put those kids first. I mean, I guess it requires selflessness in the same way that parenting does.

        Then again, I have some weird views on parenting. Like, ya know, being selfless as a general rule.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot says:

        Well, I meant as persuasive as the case against “patience,” which obviously I don’t think is very persuasive at all. My point is that patience, like selfless, is a word with no real negative nuance, unless one tortures the dictionary definition enough to find something to object to about it. It’s possible to imagine a parallel-universe complaint like “Why do people insist on thanking us teachers for our ‘selflessness’? Don’t they realize how rewarding this job is? Do they think we’re martyrs or . . .”

        The qualities you’re describing as selflessness and thoughtfulness overlap pretty solidly with the concept of “patience.” If you have an aversion to the word, well, fine, but you’ve got a lonely battle ahead of you.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot says:

        Thanks for the heads-up.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        I think part of the issue has to do more broadly with people’s relationships with their profession. Many people see their work as just that… work. Something they endure so that they can spend their free time as they wish. Which is a totally fine way of going about life. But I’m not like that. I really like what I do. Hell, when things are going right (which is really more about the adults than the kids), I love it. I do. If I wrap up my teaching for the day and then have to attend long, tedious meetings, I often pop in to the after school for a few moments to reconnect with kids and leave refreshed. So I think the joy I find in my profession… my vocation… is rare and thus leads me to seeing a situation like the one I’ve described. “Patient? Dude… the kids are the best part of my day!” People assume they would need a shit ton of patience and project that on to me but that just ain’t who I am.

        And, for the record, I have a number of perfectly healthy relationships with adults, both at work and outside of work. It’s not like I can only relate to children. It is just that I’d much rather ply my craft than sit in a boring meeting where we are going over dismissal procedures for the umpteenth time.Report

  2. Avatar Kim says:

    I dunno, I tend to think patient teachers are better than ones that simply employ electroshock in order to train their pupils. I know it’s more efficient that way, but still…

    If you want to know one field of teaching that really does require patience, it’s probably teaching biofeedback. Strap a monitor on someone, and attempt to teach them how to muck with their vitals (lifehacking at its finest).Report