23 June 2007

Pumping Up Your Tyres

In Praise of Praise
When we say 'I pumped up your tyres', or 'She/he pumped up your tyres'. It's a bit of a joke designed to let each other know, we put in a good word for someone or heard some praise about them. Everyone wants to hear that about themselves. It makes you feel good.
Inflated Tyres
I've had my tyres pumped up this week a couple of times. When I returned to school after being away for a few days, my students greeted me enthusiastically and welcomed me back. A parent at the supermarket told me she wanted to line up behind the best teacher in the world according to her two kids. I felt great.
I could certainly travel smoother with my pumped up tyres. It's been a challenging week or so and those things helped. Perhaps I am self-aggrandising when I write this, so be it. I am sharing it because I want others to realise that those kind of comments can carry tremendous weight. Many people talk about the negative feedback and challenges in public for teachers. That happens. So it's good to be able to share the positive ones too. They really make a difference.
Anti Acknowledgement
The Age: Last But Not Least discusses authors acknowledgements and takes a critical look at the ulterior motive of the writer who lists many benefactors. Caroline Baum asks

"Could it be that a culture already geared to excessive confession and public displays of emotion is guilty of nurturing the current trend? Is it also perhaps an attitude borrowed from that most egomaniacal of public arenas, Hollywood?"

Where is the harm in being grateful to people who have supported you? I don't think it takes anything away from someone to praise and acknowledge others. Particularly in a book, readers aren't compelled to read it! I don't remember thinking too much about the authors acknowledgement pages unless I have been looking for further reading, checking sources to determine the historical accuracy, or that one time when my partners ex included him in her thanks;-).

Apples for Apples
I realise that an acknowledgement in a book or at some award ceremony is quite different to a spoken thank-you or acknowledgement, yet I think it's similar stuff. I don't see the harm in thanking others or praising one another. I would encourage it.


coach said...

Moments like yours in the supermarket are priceless. They somehow take some of the sting out of the negative feedback we get so often. Well done

Kiah said...

i thought seeing as what your blog is about it would be a pretty suitable time to say..i often sit in class and i normally find it hard to listen to other teachers but i find it easy as i value your opinion a lot. Your an awesome teacher and dont forget that. Oh and i'm glad you are quitting and i hope all goes well. all the best. Kiah.

Joh said...

Thanks Kiah, my tyres are seriously pumped now!