I Think I'm a Bad Teacher

I'm not sure if Ricki reads over here, but today I just got really frustrated with a co-worker/subordinate from an educational point of view and maybe she's seen it before in her students. I trained this person on our program about 18 months ago, and at a certain point the person decided my tutoring wasn't needed anymore b/c it was all taken as personal criticism when I offered a correction or tried to figure out exactly what had happened with a problem by asking questions. (Jeez, I have to get some background information so I don't give the wrong advice--I'm not questioning anybody, per se.) I get concerned, though, when this person comes to me with a question that if the person had taken the time to think it through, could have gotten it, especially when it involves basic information that we use day to day. I think. Honestly, I'm not sure. This person doesn't seem capable of applying information from one area to another, or broad rules in general. For example, this person will go along just fine in one section of a document, but then when the same comment comes up in a different section, it's something foreign even though it's treated the same way as in the other section. Same rules! It scared the heck out of me that this person just didn't seem to see the general rule underlying all of our work. (And, um, unfortunately, I let my shock show a bit. But really, I'm worried.)

Is that possible, to have that sort of disconnect? If so, how do I get through? If not, is it just an unwillingness to take time to think and the must-have-answer-now-spoonfeed-me attitude? I just really am not sure an 18-month learning curve is acceptable. Even a year was a stretch for me, but our manager insisted that was normal. I know there's a "who cares as long as the work is done" feeling but this kind of unthinking work will only go so far. If a new/different situation comes up and you can't expand your knowledge. . . and I'm not around to fix it. . . that seems like a bad thing.


WordGirl said…
Ohhh it's possible. I've dealt with this issue in the work world so often it's scary. And Tef rants about it happening in his upper-executive-white-collar team all. the. time.

Some people will just never be able to take any sort of criticism -- however it is offered -- nor will they ever be independent thinkers.

It's not your fault, teach.
Kate P said…
Thanks, WG. I'm not as smart as your hubby but I find myself frequently wondering why others just can't seem to catch on. "Scary" is an apt word.

This person nursed the document all afternoon and most of this morning--I had hoped it was to double-check everything, but I found a lot of careless typos. Those things matter in the legal field. "Party" does not mean the same thing as "part." Arrgh.

I think there was an attempt to slide by criticism again this morning when this person brought the work to me. I saw a note sticking out of one of the pages, so I said, "Hang on--what's that?" "Oh, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do there." And you couldn't come and ask me. . . WHY? It turned out to be a good, thoughtful question. I just can't tell if the maneuvers are some passive-aggressive baloney or what.

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