I was a bit miffed yesterday because one of my students told me I was terrifying. This is not an image I really aim for, fun as it may be to pretend from time to time.I asked him why, and he said "We all[him and other project students] make sure we prepare for meetings in case we disappoint you." I don't ever remember getting angry with a student for not bringing work to a meeting. I said that to someone else once and he said "but you'll be disappointed and that's worse". I also don't recall looking disappointed. Perhaps they see me looking sadly into the distance and mistake my longing for the box of biscuits on the shelf behind them as disappointment in them. :-) I reckon I am a big old blob of rorschach ink for the students' consciences.
Anyhow, it did provoke me to think a little bit about teaching personas. Sometimes my colleagues and I have debates about whether giving the students a bollocking for things like not showing up to classes will help or not. I think not. I feel that I am partly vindicated by this study which shows that "shows that project managers can get much better performance from their team when they treat team members with honesty, kindness and respect". I know we're not exactly in the role of project managers, but there is some sense in which we are managing or leading their learning, and we're certainly helping them to develop as good managers should.
I was quite struck once to hear a head teacher give a talk where she spoke about "unconditional positive regard" for learners. I think this is possibly why I am a bit uncomfortable by the idea of these terrified students worrying about me being disappointed. Don't worry students! I still like you when the dog eats your homework.