Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to 'care' for Students

Corinne McKamey's article, Uncovering, and managing unconscious ways of 'looking', talks about her research on educational care.  In this article, the author talks about her struggle to put her own thoughts and emotions aside and simply be a researcher.  However, this was hard because of the assumptions she held as person who grew up in a white, middle-class society.

I found this article really interesting because McKamey's ideas about caring were similar to my own.  I think of a caring teacher as one who gets to know you on a personal level, not just as another student in the class.  When I picture a "caring teacher" I often think of somebody very patient, with a warm smiling and always willing to help. This, however, is not exactly the way that all cultures understand the idea of teacher care. McKamey says that in a Black community, "caring may be viewed as a practice of community building and interdependent reliance".  This is very different from my idea of teacher care and it seems as though I would have had the same struggles understanding this difference.  When you grow up in a community where there is not much diversity, it is hard to understand that not everyone thinks the same way as you do.

I think the points made in this article are very important to be aware of, especially when working with youth and their families.  While growing up my favorite teachers in school were usually the ones that took the time to get to know more about me and tried to build a positive relationship with me.  I still remember my favorite teacher, even though it has been years since I have had her.  She was my fifth grade teacher.  She was everybody's favorite teacher in elementary school.  She took the time to really learn about her students and she understood how each student learned best.  Every morning when we would get to class we had to write in our journals.  It could be about anything we wanted to talk about and the next day we would get them back with the teacher's response.  This was my idea of teacher caring.  For some students or youth of different cultures, this could be meaningless.

McKamey said it best when she stated that "the stories people tell about caring reflect and reveal assumptions that they have about the way the world works".  I think in order to be a positive youth worker that can empower today's youth, you have to understand that everyone has different views of the world.  It may be hard to relate to these views, but I think that understanding and acknowledging that they exist is the key.  Everyone has a different story; that's what makes the world go 'round.


  1. Haha Jess I had a teacher like that in 4th grade and he was awesome I was so the teachers pet with my best friend and it was one of my favorite years in school. He made learning so fun with spelling bee basketball and face-off multiplication he really kept us moving and our brains going

  2. I remember my favorite teacher too! I think everyone has that one teacher they will always remember as there favorite teacher. and looking back now we can see what made them such a great teacher.

  3. Jess I agree with this idea of understanding people have different views of the world. This will be especially important if we are working with youth in the inner city, or maybe even around the world. Keeping this perspective though will be crucial to our work with youth.