This dog trainer is an inspiration. I snapped him doing clean-up as his “students” patiently waited for directions. Researchers at Duke University are quantifying the amazing social skills of dogs. Many of us already knew canines are quick studies of human behavior. My Sheltie always focused on my facial expressions. If I pretended to be upset with him, Luke would be instantly miserable. It may sound politically incorrect, but teaching pups and teaching kids share some similarities. No, I did not say that kids are dogs or should be treated as dogs, although some dogs ARE treated better than some kids. I know that from personal experience.
But take a look at this guy’s class. You’ve got your leaders and followers, your distracted ones and your “what are you looking at?” students. You’ve got a diverse group that wants to do their best. They are patient with teacher foibles and even internalize them. And with structure and consistency, you help them achieve their goals. The tone of our voice, the expressions on our faces, and our “unconscious” behaviors affect our students in ways we cannot imagine. They go home and tell their parents The Truth According To My Teacher. Imagine what happens when we dump our prejudices about race and income on this vulnerable group. Think about their hearts, their eagerness, and their naivete. Let’s resolve not to crush these precious spirits. Let’s cherish each one.
One more thought: Not one of them dashed to the fire hydrant. So much for preconceived notions!