This is not a post with a great lesson, or anything of the sorts. Rather, this is something I’ve noticed, recently. Or at least, I’ve noticed it more than before: the bad always sticks.
You see, I’m a teacher. And each time a term comes to an end, some classes are asked to rate their teacher: what did they think of the course contents? What did they think of the manual? How did they like the teacher’s methods? Do they have any positive remarks? Any negative ones?
And I have to say – in general? The remarks I get are either neutral, or even positive.
But there’s always the one student.
Last year, after my first term teaching, one of my students claimed that I was “unprofessional”. They were the only student to make a claim like this, or even anything to that extent. But it stuck with me.
After my second term, there were some remarks about communication – that sometimes, we changed plans at the last minute. And you know what, those students were right – so somehow it didn’t stick.
This term, again, some students gave a remark about the fact that I spoke too much French in a French class – then again, others stated I spoke too little French. In that same class. So again, I could let it glide off of me. After all, if that doesn’t show how highly subjective this feedback is, I don’t know what does.
Some students said I was stuck to my desk too much – true, because I had to go through the slides – or that I did not spend enough time on the theory – true, because they had to prepare it at home. All of those things – if I can see how they came to that conclusion, I can bear. Because I can fix it, or I know why I made that choice.
But then there was one student. One student who determined that my lack of education skills were “below par”. And that’s the one that’s sticking with me. Because how do you change that? They claimed that I let students talk for too long and then suddenly would put a stop to it – true, in a sense: I know exactly how far I’m willing to let them go. And I’m strict in that. They claimed that I seemed to not enjoy teaching that course at all – that perception isn’t right, but how do you change a perception?
That’s probably the general problem I have with letting go of the bad: how do you change what people think you think? At that point, you’re talking about subconscious ideas, and prejudices. The way people interpret something you do is, unfortunately, not something you’re ever going to be able to change. At least, I don’t think it is.
Here’s the fun thing: another student gave as their remark that “the teacher was always in a good mood, motivating and eager to help”. So why is it that can’t be the remark that sticks with me? I mean, is it just me? Am I just too sensitive? Too insecure? Or is it really a truth universally acknowledged? That the bad always sticks?