Apr 16, 2013
Comments Off on The Balance Between Being Honest and Staying Positive

The Balance Between Being Honest and Staying Positive

I want to be one of those teachers that inspires his students. Not quite Michelle Pheiffer in Dangerous Minds or Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, but somewhere in that vicinity. Someone who makes a difference. I know I’m not the only one.

It’s cheesy, I recognize.

The point is, I want to have high expectations of my students. I want to set the bar high and I want to help each kid get over it.

I want be a consistent positive force.

Every morning, that’s my goal. Make a student believe and move a student forward.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been very cognizant of the feedback I give my students. I try to tailor the feedback to be positive, to be constructive, to remind them of the successes they’ve achieved.

But upon reflection, upon sitting down and talking with students, I realize I’ve been glossing over the honest feedback. I’m trying so hard to polish my message, that the truth is being washed away. 

This unsettles me.

Where is the line? Where is the tipping point between positive, constructive feedback and honest feedback? Because they aren’t the same thing.

In a discussion with some colleagues, the idea of “tough love” came up. Is there room for tough love in schools anymore? Some teachers felt that there really wasn’t. They felt that the expectations now (with credit recovery, credit rescue and all manner of student success) lead to a sanitized feedback loop where no one admits there is dirt anywhere to be seen. I’m not sure I fully agree, but I can see where they are coming from.

So, I ask you, how do you balance being positive and constructive with providing honest feedback?

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