In the article, “A Pedagogy of Kindness,” the teacher, Catherine Denial, describes her journey to becoming a kinder person in the classroom. The teacher describes how she believed a successful classroom needed a ruthless leader, and until recently, she filled that role. She was told she needed to be harsh and strict, or else her students would not respect her. She became a paranoid teacher, thinking that all of her students were cheating, and issues like absences and late work were met with zero compassion, because she did not want to be taken advantage of. However, after taking a teaching seminar, she realized that her pedagogy was all wrong. The course opened her eyes to a new kind of teaching philosophy centered around compassion and kindness towards students. She realized that she did not need to teach like a dictator to be a successful teacher, and she learned that her students responded much better to her new kindness-based pedagogy.
I think that the message of this article is incredibly important. I have been in many classes where teachers barely even allow bathroom breaks, and arbitrary rules like these only create a stressful learning environment. Students have lives outside of the classroom which often become complicated and full of uncontrollable situations. Having teachers that realize this and still continue to support their students is necessary in fostering a successful learning environment, and I am lucky to have been fortunate enough to have many teachers like this at Wake. I just hope that more teachers can incorporate kindness into their pedagogies, like Denial.