You Hate Kids?

I recently had a comment left on a previous post causing me to pause and think. The comment:


There was some further conversation within the comments but I stand by my original thoughts that you have to remain centered around kids in everything you do. With that in mind, I don’t think you can be a good teacher if you “hate” kids. Sure you might be able to present the content well and be an expert in your discipline. However, so much of a teacher’s effectiveness lies in their ability to create strong and positive relationships. I may be wrong, but if I hated kids, I don’t think I would be even remotely close to a “good” teacher, regardless of your definition of “good”.  How can you do your job well if you hate the very thing your job centers around?

The example that was given in the comment strand was a pastry chef could be a great chef even if they hated croissants. Now, it may be possible that a chef hates croissants.  However, if they do and make a halfhearted croissant the consequence is hardly life threatening. If a teacher took a halfhearted approach to kids, I feel as though the consequences are worse in the long run. I feel as though the best teachers are able to connect with kids on a personal level to create meaningful relationships that I doubt are possible if you don’t “like” kids.

As a parent, I would be appalled to think my son’s teachers hated kids. Kids are able to pick up on those feelings and it will certainly impact their state of mind when they sit in the classroom. In my own experiences, I learned very well in classes where the teacher’s love for their students was evident and came through in the work they did. I even recall a brilliant teacher who clearly knew his subject matter but just as clearly hated being a teacher as well as the kids in his room. His inability to connect with the students ultimately impacted the learning and I can vouch for that first hand.

Am I wrong? Can you be a good teacher and hate kids? 

20 comments:

Jenny Cho said...

Teaching is not a profession to continue in if you ever started disliking kids. It's not a pleasant prospect for all parties involved. Your dislike would color your interpretation and perception of how your kids behave and learn. You would stop looking at the "why's". How can you be an effective teacher if you stop doing that?

I've always thought it would be a horrible fate career-wise to be a teacher who hates kids but has nowhere else to go.

Karen said...

There are always going to be kids in your classes who you don't like. Very rarely do I hate any, but I had two this past quarter who I totally could not stand!
But I don't think anyone could be a good teacher if they hated kids in general.

David said...

You can't be a good teacher and hate kids. You might get frustrated by one or two them once in a while, and occasionally be completely frustrated with them, but you can't hate them.

You can't be good at anything involving other people and hate who you work with.

dmuentnich said...

Hate kids and teach? I agree with your original thoughts. I do not see how a person could consider teaching as a profession if they hated kids.I love kids and teaching so for me it is unthinkable to be a teacher who hates kids. The best teachers I know center not only their classrooms around kids but try to incorporate their everyday life experiences to the benefit of students.

Jay S said...

I think you hit it at the start of this post. Good teaching, by any meaningful standard, is predicated on fostering a relationship with students. This is especially true if you are going to ask them to risk, stretch and grow- things a good teacher should be doing/asking. The pastry example fails because a pastry has no subjectivity- it does not feel think or take risks. Students do have subjectivity, they are whole people, albeit young and still growing. If you want them to follow you on the risky, challenging journey that is learning, you must create and foster a relationship with them However the pastry example is a perfect description of how many voices in the Ed debate today see teaching. They don't see students as people, just objects to be manipulated according to a recipie.

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

Jay,

You said it perfectly...too many look at kids as products and not people. That mentality can not and will never work when dealing with students or any human beings for that matter. You can toss a ruined pastry away...what do you do with a kid? Toss it away? I sure hope not! :)

Anonymous said...

I am not sure how you can even remotely consider the thought of hating or even not liking kids in your classroom. If that is the case, go work at Walmart. If you don't "like" kids in your class, you need to get over yourself. You need to find good in all children because they are the people you serve. If you don't have a servant's heart, how can you be in this profession. How could anyone not like kids. They are young and impressionable. If you communicate this dislike, they will definitely sense it and behave even more poorly. What a year these students must be having, knowing their teacher doesn't like them. What a way to begin your journey to adulthood and what kind of adults will they turn in to knowing that adults don't like them??? I get so angry knowing there are people out there who would even profess this out loud and then stay in this profession.

golson3 said...

I happened to see this quote in a tweet right after I read this post:

People only do their best at things they truly enjoy. -Jack Nicklaus

If someone doesn't "truly enjoy" kids, there is no way he/she can be a truly good teacher.

Gabriela said...

You absolutely can't be a good teacher if you hate kids. Teaching involves much more then sitting in front of a classroom presenting facts and figures. Anybody with decent communication skills can do that. It's the love for kids, the patience to explain things over and over again, until they understand, the ability to see right through their mistakes and failures, gently pushing them in the right direction, encouraging them and lifting them up along the path, and much much more, that sets us, teachers, apart from... pretty much anybody who can stand and quote facts in front of a group of people. It's unbelievable that there could be people out there who would admit such a thing and still be teaching. As a parent, I'm appalled... as a fellow teacher, I am simply speechless...

Tom Altepeter said...

Hate? Strong word. Stronger feelings. If those feelings are present, good teaching is not.

Lyn Hilt said...

No.

Ted said...

I know a lot of content specialists who would make terrible teachers. Just knowing something doesn't mean you can teach it, particularly teaching children. They are looking for models to learn from. As teachers, we are not just teaching content, but we are also teaching our students how to be good citizens and people of character, whether we realize that or not. We may not consciously be trying to do that, but we are. That is what makes a good teacher good, developing a relationship and a connection with our students that goes beyond the book. You can't do that if you hate kids, period.

Steph said...

I could not agree more with your viewpoint that hating kids and being a good teacher just do not go together at all. When I think back on some of my most favorite/ memorable former teachers, a major reason they made such a lasting impact on me was their obvious care for their students and just loving the interactions/impact they were able to have with us each day. I just do not think that being an expert with the curriculum alone is enough to be an effective, engaging and successful teacher. Tt takes much more than extensive knowledge of content, and instead needs to be about the abililty to relate to and reach students, which requires an educator to genuinely care about the kids they teach.

Anthony Ndoca said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the fact that you can't "hate" kids and be a great teacher. The pure essence of being a teacher is compassion for humanity and the desire to make the world a better place through education. I would argue it's impossible to "hate" anyone and still be a great teacher.

Tina said...

I agree with you, Stump. It is true that very much of a teacher's effectiveness lies in their ability to create strong and positive relationships. I see teaching as a vocation rather than a profession; it's something that you are called to do-therefore a good teacher would have to be just as passionate about the interest group they're working with as the subject matter that they're teaching. In fact I'd argue that passion for kids, is more important than passion for the subject that you're teaching. A great professor of pedagogy once said that true learning only takes places when there’s an appropriate and intimate relationship between the teacher and the student. I do believe this.

Jamie said...

I completely agree with you. Teachers have such an important task, that is to teach and prepare children for their future after school. If a teacher hates kids, how can they care enough about their future to make sure that they are truly ready for it? Just because one has the knowledge background, it does not mean that they are qualified to teach. Establishing that rapport with students is crucial to creating an effective learning environment.

Tina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dru F. said...

I 100 % agree with you! Creating a positive environment for students is so important especially for students that have difficult backgrounds. Students that have a rough home life need a warm and open classroom from a teacher that actually wants them to succeed. If you as teacher hate kids then you need to get out of education. There is an incredible amount of damage you could do to a student if your not teaching them with everything you have. You should be drained by the end of you day because you put all of your energy into teaching.

Dru F. said...

I 100 % agree with you! Creating a positive environment for students is so important especially for students that have difficult backgrounds. Students that have a rough home life need a warm and open classroom from a teacher that actually wants them to succeed. If you as teacher hate kids then you need to get out of education. There is an incredible amount of damage you could do to a student if your not teaching them with everything you have. You should be drained by the end of you day because you put all of your energy into teaching.

Stuart Jamie said...

An interesting topic Josh. It was of course my original comment which triggered this. I have to say I doubt that anyone who hated children would become a teacher in the first place for the obvious reasons, and I doubt even more that any teacher would admit to hating children in front of colleagues. As a previous commenter pointed out, hate is a strong word - and to hate a whole class of people is an extreme position to take.

My point is a hypothetical one and no one here has yet given a solid argument to back up their 'belief' that a teacher who hates kids cannot be an effective teacher. I expect that all those posting here have an interest in improving themselves as classroom practitioners and a desire to improve children's lives is very likely to be a motive behind that objective.

Let me pose the question another way: imagine you are about to enter your final high school year in, say, history. Whom would you prefer to be your teacher? The grizzled, bitter old bastard who pushes you hard and gets you the top grade because he's brilliant, engaging and demanding of you but refuses to smile because he just wants to go home and read a good book; or the friendly, approachable one who seems to care more about you (and maybe does) but isn't quite so hot when it comes to teaching; there are a few gaps in their subject knowledge perhaps and they don't know how to explain things as clearly as our curmudgeonly friend does by instinct.

I'll start: I choose the first one.