Re: 3 solutions for school game???/jan

Phyllis Ryder (pryder@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU)
Fri, 16 Aug 1996 11:05:58 -0700

On Fri, 16 Aug 1996, Darlene Sybert wrote:

> On Thu, 15 Aug 1996, Eric Crump wrote:
> > What happens to the others if we add:
> >
> > 4) teacher as colleague
> I believe this would be as difficult to achieve at the Freshmen level
> as "parent as friend" is with young children. Not that you can't have an
> amicable and caring relationship in both cases, but I believe both groups
> need the security that some-one whose been there and knows is going to
> help them get all these scary things sorted out... and if this
> person of experience feels confidence in them, they begin to feel confident
> also...
> Sorry I don't have time to be long-winded, but I hope others will jump
> in here with comments because I think it is a relevant issue especially
> because--in many cases--the instructor is not much older than his/her
> students and becoming friends with them is more natural than being an
> authority in some cases. What's best for the student academically and
> emotionally is an important issue here, I think?
> Darlene Sybert

You touch here on a difficulty with holding up the "teacher as
colleague" model. As much as I like the idea of breaking down the
authoritarian model as much as possible, I know that it can be harder for
women (especially younger women) to earn the respect of her students when
she engages in this. Julia Ferganchick-Neufang wrote a dissertation on
this at the UA, examining the accounts of women who had experienced
student-on-teacher harassment (ie sexually explicit comments, threats,
etc.). She concludes that the lack of cultural authority granted to
women can often interfere with (or cancel out) the institutional
authority granted to them as teachers. In such cases, it seems dangerous
to uphold the model of teacher-as-colleague. We're always balancing the
two, and teachers need to test the waters of a classroom first. I guess
I'm arguing that there are times when the more authoritarian model is
necessary for the safety of the teacher. At least until there is more
respect for women. . .

Phyllis Mentzell Ryder 3438 E. Bellevue St., Tucson AZ 85716 520/326-5416