The teacher is only human, after all. The repeated emphasis on students’ needs indirectly encourages forgetting about those of the teacher. Male or female, the human ego feeds on reward and recognition, and your teacher ego perks right up when a student loves to respond, laughs at your jokes, asks you for help as though you were the last life-saver on the boat.
You use your instructional energy generously and it doesn’t really take much to – in return – make you feel like a good looking genius. Therein lies the cyclical danger. The teacher’s well-known duty is to pay equal attention to all students - to prevent the guilty recognition that the girl in the left-hand corner never says a thing because she is not spoken to; to avoid having to admit that most of your lesson moved energetically along with lots of participation but – come to think of it – not from the left-hand side of the room. Why can’t you remember the face of what’s-his-name who always sits by the door (and who eases smoothly out of that exit as soon as the bell rings)? Even the trouble-makers are more appealing, testing your patience and your class management skills; victories with these in-your-face challenges can make you feel especially self-congratulatory….while the “escape artists” shroud themselves in a cloak of invisibility as they look for a dropped pen, a misplaced paper, a book in a backpack, and successfully evade the teacher’s attention (which is inevitably on the eager beavers with their hands in the air…).
The skilled fugitive knows how to keep his head down; the wave of willing responses will satisfy the also needy elicitor… Every teacher should have a fool-proof system of checking production frequency among all 12 or 16 or 20 students – who spoke, how often, how much – and making sure they know who you are and that you care. In ensuring uniformity and truly collaborative direction in your work in the classroom, your heart-strings are not as consistent a guide as your intellect and your eyes.