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Archives: Empathy

The Incident: We’ve Got Each Other’s Back


Empathy (Photo credit: TonZ)

wonderful comment on an earlier post talked about the importance of empathy. I responded with an acknowledgement of empathy’s sometimes nemesis: frustration. Here’s Carla Baku reminding us that perhaps these are “inside” conversations. Ones that just happen to take place in a public venue.

I really haven’t seen a lot of public posts that I find troubling. Perhaps that’s a function of the sites I access; I’m primarily reading things written by people I know, and the teachers in my circle of acquaintance are dedicated and committed to their students’ best interests. If, on occasion, they write about particular teaching frustrations, I guess I automatically ascribe good intentions to their writing.

If I saw public posts that went for the jugular and seemed to have a genuinely unkind intent, I’d be uncomfortable. And, obviously, if a student could be identified in the writing, that would be unconscionable.

One thing I now understand about teaching that never occurred to me when I was a student, is how outnumbered a teacher can feel in the classroom! When I read the stories of other teachers, I have that feeling of aahhh….someone else gets it. I sense my cohort out there behind the words.

The composition of the road to hell aside, is it possible we can tell some of those stories with a good intention? For example, I admired David’s blog post about a cheating student. At the risk of sounding callous: it seems that for every student who struggles due to learning differences or other personal challenges, there is at least one student who flounders because–despite every advantage–he or she is lazy, cocky, indifferent, or oblivious. I’m not suggesting they’re fair game, but they are the ones who, for better or worse, impel me to tell tales.


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