The Impact of Negativity on Education
There is an epidemic that has continued to spread throughout our education system that no one seems to be talking about. Negativity within the hallowed halls of education isn’t a new problem, it has been ingrained into the very fabric of learning. Educators who create a negative environment create students who do not love to learn, are less productive, and leave a lasting negative impact.
The biggest detriment to students is the lack of loving to learn due to a negative environment. Teachers who expect their students to merely sit quietly all day in uncomfortable chairs and be scolded for any little perceived mistake will only have students who lose the natural love of learning that is rooted within all children. In my many years of teaching, I have seen students dread going to specific teacher’s classes because of the negative environment that they have created. My own son dealt with a teacher who constantly yelled at his students for any small thing they did. He used to love learning, but after months in this kind of environment, he stopped paying attention and no longer cared. My cries to the administration about the issue fell on deaf ears which only showed my son how broken the system can be.
Another disservice negativity does to education is creating a serious lack of productivity in students who are in such negative classrooms. School administrations focus so much on test scores without realizing that one of the biggest issues keeping students from academic growth is a negative atmosphere in which they are expected to learn. A teacher who establishes trust by building a relationship with their students will find that their testing scores will increase by merely giving them a place that lets them be able to feel comfortable and feel cared for. When I was teaching middle school English, I created a family setting within my four walls and by the end of the year, every one of my students had grown immensely on their standardized tests. Instead of constantly yelling at them for any little thing they did, I praised even the tiniest of positive things I saw in my students. I greeted every student at the doorway with a smile and a compliment like “Jack, I am so glad to see you today.” or “Cara, did you get new shoes? I love them.” Showing a student that you notice them in a positive way makes them want to come to the classroom. Also, I made learning engaging and fun with interactive games and plenty of discussion time where students were allowed to speak freely on the subjects we were learning. It gave them a sense of ownership in their education instead of being told just sit quietly.
A negative school impacts more than just a student’s education while they are there, it can leave a lasting scar. Negative teachers leave an impact on a student that will remain throughout their educational careers and possibly into the workforce. I have had my own experiences with being a student in a negative classroom, and it made me not want to keep learning that subject. A particular Algebra II teacher has implanted in me a distaste for all things mathematical that has stuck with me for over twenty years. Her classroom was unwelcoming with a lack of personal effects which told me right away that she did not want me to get to know her. If any student dared to ask for help or clarification they were met with rudeness and rejection. I barely passed the class because I asked my mother, an extremely positive math teacher, for help after school. Now as an adult, I tend to shy away from negative people in general out of fear that they will add to the negative scars that have been left behind by previous negative teachers.
The negativity in education needs to be addressed. Every student deserves to have a safe environment where learning is not only fun and engaging, but they are free to be themselves without fear of constant punishment. Students who suffer through the experience of negative education will lose their love of learning, be less productive, and ultimately live with an emotional scar.