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Compassion and Criticism

Siobhan Hickey's picture

Through my observations in the classroom and the subsequent examination I have made of myself as a possible future educator, I have thought a lot about the specific role of compassion in the school environment. I often tend to have a negative initial reaction to teachers who are brusque with students, even though I consciously recognize that it is part of maintaining discipline in a classroom that they, but not I, spend hours in every single day. I think it is easy from an outsider’s perspective to expect that every classroom interaction should be compassionate, and to think this isn’t happening when a teacher is short with a student who keeps asking to go to the bathroom, for example. I think that there is something to be said for focusing on creating relationships of caring and concern in a broad sense within a classroom environment, which is something that takes time and energy on parts of the student and teacher. A truly compassionate educational relationship, like any relationship, would be characterized by being able to deliver and accept criticism while also feeling safe and ultimately supported in one’s endeavors. I think this speaks to Margaret’s point that deeper relationships exist where the desire to please is put aside.