Tuesday, July 22, 2008

In the End, It's All About People

I just got home from meeting one of my Senior Exhibit mentees. She was really concerned about the progress of her Exhibit, and I know that talking helped her feel better about a roadblock she had hit. I could assure her and watch her to see if my words were making a little difference.

Our conversation turned to college too (I am the college counselor as my "other" job), and I had emailed her earlier today in response to her question about her current GPA. She was honest with me tonight that reading my email with her GPA was hard for her -- she had hoped it would have been higher. We talked about this and the ramifications. These are often the hardest conversations I have with my seniors because I strive to always be honest and realistic about admission requirements while also keeping students' goals strong and positive. It is a balance I worry about all of the time.

In the end what I gained from tonight was a reminder about how my job -- as teacher, as college counselor, as whatever I am at that moment with that student -- is really about the individuals I get the privelege to work with. Sitting down face-to-face with my students whenever I can is something that for me can never be replaced. Technology (email in this case, but blogs, Twitter, Facebook) can and do keep connections alive, but it is talking with my students where I do best. It is how I can know a student is upset about her GPA and I can respond as needed for that situation. I can't always fix it, but the personal moment together matters.

I would not have spent my evening any other way.


  1. snobles, I think you have hit the nail on the head. The virtual world of communication is meaningless without some element of personal interaction. I dare say that the virtual should complement, not replace the real world of intrapersonal communication

  2. I totally agree. Education works best when we see faces first rather than curriculum - people rather than mere academic goals. In fact, I believe every teacher should have a motto. My motto is: "I teach students first and curriculum second." It's not that the two are mutually exclusive; it's only that the priority must be on the student first and the subject material second.

    I enjoy your posts and transparency.

  3. p.c. ames Thanks for reading and commenting. The reflection that I get to do with blogging really pushes my thoughts.