Teaching is solving puzzles.Â Of course, puzzles are meant to be a bit frustrating; otherwise they wouldn’t be as rewarding when we figure them out.Â The question is, how do we handle the frustration part?
Thanks to AnaLise for a thought-provoking post last week about this. Her message was essentially that teachers need to be open-minded about learning how to respond constructively to their students, and to avoid resorting to anger, or even (I might add)Â more covert expressions of frustration.Â I have to say I took issue with a few of her turns of phrase, though.Â Â For example, if we wereÂ to buy into the notion that “high emotion equals low intelligence,” we’d have to figure that Beethoven wasÂ some kind ofÂ idiot! …In context, of course, she was trying to say that hot-headedness towards a student is not a smart way to get constructive results.Â (As always, you are invited to join the discussion by adding a comment at the end of this or any post.Â Thanks for new comments from W.A. on Choosing an InstrumentÂ and from Joe on collecting student payments.)
Does there exist a teacher who hasnâ€™t been frustrated at some time?Â It’s in the nature of teaching,Â to push people to do things they havenâ€™t done before.Â There are always going to be students who donâ€™t quite get it, or who donâ€™t try very hard, or who despair, or backslide after achieving progress.
Itâ€™s important to note that teachers can also mix into their teaching frustrationsÂ that do not stem from their students. [···]