Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Tough Love

Brooke Kelly's picture

This post is a bit late, but it is in response to my first day at my placement. This semester, I have been placed at a public school in Center City Philadelphia, which is vastly different than the suburban independent school I attended, and the two previous placements I’ve had which were also both at independent schools. I am currently in a place where I feel as though I am not prepared to pass judgment or provide ample commentary on the school because I am still figuring out what my impressions are, myself. My first impression of the teacher is that she is not overly enthusiastic. She became irritated quickly and did not seem to feel the need for digression in front of her students. A few times she became frustrated and threw up her hands, exclaiming things such as “I just can’t!” or “I’m done!” after which she would return to her desk for a little bit. At one point, another teacher wandered into the class and the woman I am shadowing turned to her, gestured to the class and said to her, “See what I’m talking about?” The oddest part about this to me was that the students seemed completely un-phased by her attitude. In fact, in many cases, it seemed they rather liked her. 

This left me wondering what they implications of “tough love” in the classroom are. The classrooms that I grew up in were highly nurturing and supportive, and because of this, I do not know if I would respond well to this sort of attitude from a teacher. Perhaps this classroom of students appreciate this harsh encouragement and this teacher has discovered that it is what they respond the best to. As I previously stated, I am not yet at the place in this placement where I feel comfortable committing to a speculation, but I hope that over the next few weeks her method will become clearer to me.