To continue research for my topic, I turned to literature on the subject. A good amount of research has been done on student perception of teacher care. I enjoyed reading the articles because they aligned with the experiences I have had as both a student and a teacher. I found a lot of similarities between the interviews I conducted with my teachers and the various articles I read. I summarized my findings by creating a list of the most common traits students and teachers have reported as indicating care:

  1. A caring teacher considers the learning needs of students and provides scaffolding during teaching
  2. A caring teacher makes him or herself readily available to students
  3. A caring teacher does his or her best to maintain a kind disposition towards all students
  4. A caring teacher shows personal interest in the well being of students, both inside and outside of the classroom
  5. A caring teacher is mindful of the students’ home situations and commitments outside of the classroom
  6. A caring teacher shows enthusiasm when working with his or her students
  7. A caring teacher is careful to provide positive, constructive feedback
  8. A caring teacher encourages students to pursue opportunities related to their academic strengths
  9. A caring teacher works to ensure a respectful and safe learning environment for all students

While doing my readings for task one this week, I came across an interesting comment that said students percive teacher care differently according to their race and gender. I found this concept to be rather interesting and decided to look into how race and gender effects student perception of teacher care. I found two articles that addressed this topic well and came away with the following conclusions about care as it relates to race and gender:

  1. Minority students tend to report that effective, academic support shows them that their teachers care
  2. Majority students (usually Caucasian) tend to report that interpersonal relationships with teachers show them care
  3. Boys were far more likely than girls to report that they appreciate gestures such as hugs, pats on the back, etc.
  4. Girls mostly associated academic support with signs that their teacher cares for them

These articles were careful to state that these were broad trends. For example, they should not be taken so far as to think that minority students do not appreciate interpersonal relationships in addition to academic support. Ideally, teachers should consider and treat each student as an as individual, not as a member of a generalized population. That being said, I still found the trends found in these articles interesting and something to keep in mind. Due to my personal experience in the field of education, I agree with the insight that these articles had to offer. As a tutor for UGA’s Athletic Department, I work predominately with African American, male students. I have found that my students feel cared for when I combine interpersonal and academic ways of caring. There are days when my students need things such a hugs, compliments, and encouragement. However, I know that these interpersonal ways of caring would mean far less to them if I wasn’t clearly devoted to their educational success as well. In my experience, my African American students feel most cared for when there is evidence of both academic and interpersonal caring.

Sources used this week:

Garza, R. (2008). “Latino and White High School Students’ Perceptions of Caring Behaviors: Are We Culturally Responsive to Our Students?”

Rolón-Dow, R. (2005). “Critical Care”

Tosolt, B. (2010). “Gender and Race Differences in Middle School Students’ Perceptions of Caring Teacher Behaviors.”