Mr. Isero, you know that I cannot go online because I do not have [the webcam] but obviously you do not care due to you have not given it to me yet.
The details of the story don’t matter. What matters is that a student thinks I fundamentally do not care about her.
This comment triggered me. I have long wondered how well I communicate care, especially across difference.
At first I was defensive: What do you mean, I don’t care? Look at all the things I’ve done to help you! Of course I care!
Then I got angry: How dare you address me with that tone! You should be honored to have me as your teacher!
I decided to do nothing until I met with her in person. After all, maybe I interpreted her meaning incorrectly. Maybe she was trying to be funny.
Nope. When I asked her whether she was serious, she said she was. And now I’m left to figure out what to do next.
My reflection: It’s pretty clear that there’s a breakdown in communication and trust. What I’m communicating as care is not being received in the same way. There is something lost in translation.
Also, I must be doing something (or not doing something) to create a sense of distrust. I’m not sure what that is. When the great majority of my students find me extremely helpful, and this student thinks I’m uncaring, there is something wrong.
My theory of action is that we need to talk more, interact more, and spend more time doing work together. It worked with a few students, so I have to keep on trying. My uncaring self wonders: Why does this have to be so hard?
In the meantime, I think it’s important to have a meeting with the student, her mom, and her adviser. We need to get out into the open what’s troubling us or else this negative dynamic will never disappear.