Have you ever watched a story on the news about a mass murderer, meth lab mastermind, or perpetrator of animal cruelty where someone associated with said criminal to say something like "He was such a nice guy". Betcha did. Furthermore, I betcha you laughed. I used to laugh too. Until I became that woman.
What keeps me in teaching is that despite a belief in original sin, I actually like to believe the best in people. Yep, that means teenagers. I am a sucker for politeness and if I see something good in someone, I desperately want to apply that quality to then universally. Is this good or bad for a teacher? I vote both.
The good: I found myself telling a strange story to another teacher in my district this week. There is much talk about the changing population of our school district. My school has felt the changes the most and some teachers have had a hard time adapting (note here my gift of understatement). When talking about a more culturally and economically diverse school, I was shocked to find the first thought I had was that it is good to see students reaching across the boundaries (is this making sense?). I was even more shocked that when my new teacher friend answered "Well, you know what they say about the kids at your school..." that she told me how everyone sees that our kids are the nicest! What more does a post-Columbine teacher need to hear! We may not make our govt mandated 6% increase this year, but we are nice.
The bad is that I get naive. I just deleted a paragraph with too much backstory for anyone to handle about how one of my kids has a goon looking for him at school with a crowbar and when I wig out and ask "Is Baccardi making some bad choices?!", I get a look from a "crazy old white lady" look from a student and get the answer "Baccardi took care of things.". I am needing to find a mental parking spot somewhere between naive and jaded.