Friday, September 23, 2011
In my opinion, yes. Me teacher, you students and the twain should not meet on certain issues. Students don't want to see behind the veil and the teacher shouldn't put students in that uncomfortable position. Some personal disclosures may be ok depending on their nature (mentioning personal struggles related to the coursework - yes; talking about personal struggles concerning relationships, medical issues or other private matters - a big "no") but a teacher can definitely go too far to the detriment of maintaining a productive learning environment. But hey, that's just, like, my opinion. If you want to read what other teachers think about the issue, check out this column from the Chronicle of Higher Ed and scroll through the comments. Or, leave your thoughts below in our comment section.
Here's a comment from the CHE article that sums up my feelings about this pretty well:
I think there's a real difference between "sharing a bit of yourself" and sharing profound emotional experiences/reactions. I frequently tell stories "on" myself to prove that students who make errors join a big club, and sometimes stories about my son that illustrate a point I am trying to make. This practice does establish a sense of connection. But I would certainly NOT tell stories about hugely important, hugely affective issues. Students are a captive audience, we're there to teach them, not to have a built-in confessional.