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February 24, 2007

Love may not be Necessary, but Caring is

Lemire (skim Ch 2-7) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

Chapter 2 - Perchance to Teach

"...you don't have to love them [young people] to be a good teacher, though it would help the development of your patience, flexibility, and understanding. It may not even be necessary to like children, either in general or as individuals" (17).

I have to say I am slightly alarmed by this opinion. I do see where Lemire is coming from, especially when he clarifies in the next paragraph that "you need to love teaching more than you need to love your students." Truly, loving kids is not enough to make a person a good teacher, but at the same time I have a hard time seeing someone who openly dislikes young people being a very successful teacher. Yes, to be respected and to teach the students is much more important than being liked by the students. But, I know that I have a harder time respecting someone that I know doesn't even like me simply because I am a young person. Also, I know it is difficult to enjoy your work if you don't like the people you are working with no matter what your profession. So I can't imagine someone who doesn't like kids liking teaching. (Unless, of course, they taught adult students) Also, while this isn't the exact same thing, I do firmly believe that to be a good teacher you do need to care about people, especially your students. Studies have shown that the teachers that students feel have inspired them and made the greatest impact on them are the ones that showed that they really cared about the students and their futures.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at February 24, 2007 2:35 PM


I don't see things the same way Lemire does in several areas, but that's precisely why I assigned the book -- so that it could speak to the vast majority of students who won't one day end up teaching college English.

You can always teach for a while, then come back and get a PhD and come teach at SHU. Maybe by then The Setonian will be a weekly paper and we'll need two advisers!

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2007 5:42 PM

Of course, if we all agreed with everything Lemire said it wouldn't be very stimulating to read it. I found it useful to see what he has to say as someone who obviously has experience in the field, since I really do not. So it is good to at least give the advice of someone in his position a chance.

Posted by: Lorin at February 28, 2007 8:07 AM

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