I was once told that my students “like me, but don’t respect me” and I have heard more than one student say “I just don’t learn anything in her class.” Now, I have two students who have adeptly speared me with what was supposed to be a fairly light-hearted assignment.

I take those comments and carefully consider them: is it true? what could I be doing to better help my students improve? am I not meeting the majority of my students where they are at? am I not teaching them to think and connect and communicate effectively?

Only after I have really considered the answers to those questions in connection to the criticism do I look at the level of commitment, ability, and quality of character exhibited by my critic. So, I’ll pretend that your intention was to help me be a better teacher. I will not treat you any differently based on your obvious disdain for me, my methods, and my classes. I will not grade you any differently either.

I’m sorry that you feel I’m not preparing you for the future. I hope that the combination of your innate ability, personal work ethic, and excitement for college helps you to succeed and I mean that sincerely. Let’s just try to continue our professional relationship (student and teacher) with as much respect as you are capable of and the usual level of common courtesy.

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