No one is perfect. This afternoon I had the chance to reflect on some of the many things I would change if I could go back to my first 10, or maybe even 20, years of teaching.
To my former students…
If I posted the agenda for the class and made darn sure we did everything on it, even if it wasn’t understood or didn’t make sense, I apologize.
If you voiced a concern and I not only didn’t address it, but also asked you to stop thinking and talking about it, I apologize.
If I offered extra credit, but only gave the points to the students who needed a higher average, I apologize.
If I suggested ideas that would help you to become a better student, never told you that they counted for a grade, and then took off points if you didn’t do them, I apologize.
If I followed every compliment with….But….and proceeded to berate you, I apologize.
If for every positive statement I made about you, I made five negative ones, I apologize.
If I assigned you a project that I had no experience with and then criticized how you did it, I apologize.
If I required you to use technology that I did not understand, and then criticized how you used it, I apologize.
If one or two people in your class didn’t do something correctly and I scolded all of you, I apologize.
If I asked you, in front of the entire class, to raise your hand and tell me that you didn’t do an assignment (even though I already knew that you were the only one who didn’t do it) I apologize.
If you ever arrived late to class and I made fun of you and let the class laugh at you, I apologize.
If it was clear by my words and my actions that I favored some of you and disliked others, I apologize.
If I made you feel that by being my students you were a burden to me, I apologize.
If I attempted to motivate you with sarcasm or by poking fun at you, I apologize.
I truly hope that I didn’t do these things, or at least do them very often. I’m sure that there are other things that I should apologize for as well…and I am sorry. I’m sure, at the time, I really did think that I was doing the right thing, the best thing, by behaving that way, but I was wrong…and I am sorry.
Why I am thinking about these things today?
I saw them happen…..and it really, really made me angry. Not to students, but to adults, and it still made me really, really angry.
And it made me remember, or at least worry about, times when I may have inadvertently treated my students poorly. I’m sure that I have, at some point, made my students as angry as I was today…and for that, I am sincerely sorry. Please accept my apologies.