Today’s AlphaBooks Blogging features David Copperfield.. (Not the magician, whom I think has disappeared.) No, “David Copperfield” is a masterpiece of Charles Dickens, one of my favorite authors. Dickens himself writes, “Of all my books, I like this the best. It will be easily believed that I am a fond parent to every child of my fancy, and that no one can ever love that family as dearly as I love them. But, like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favourite child. And his name is DAVID COPPERFIELD.”
It’s true for teachers also, that we often have a favorite student. For me, the challenge is keeping that a secret. I fear it might be heartbreaking for some kids to know they aren’t my favorite. But a more serious pitfall occurs when my heart favors a student. I lose that oh-so-slight emotional distance which makes me more effective.
Our daughter, a former student, was a perfect illustration of how I lost my teacher perspective. When she whacked me on the rear with a notebook, I took her firmly in hand to the principal, who stared at me with disbelief. I’d had kids in my self-contained class pull all sorts of amazing stunts and I’d never batted an eyelash. But our daughter-to-be? Ah, I had lost my heart to her and could never maintain that distance again. It was a good thing that she was mainstreamed into a regular classroom and her special education status eventually became a thing of the past. Then she was simply special.