. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: Riddle Me This

Friday, February 4, 2011

Riddle Me This

Why is it that when a grade level has success with students by addressing student needs in a different way than the rest of the herd at school, they are ostracized and ridiculed for being different? Are we educators no better than the mean girls on the playground? Can we not put our petty fears aside and simply recognize the students' success?

 Which is why we're all here, right?

If teachers are genuinely doing all they can to meet their students' needs, no one will question if they're doing it in the same manner as another group of teachers or not. IF they are doing all they can, that is.

Could it be that only those who realize deep down inside that they are indeed NOT doing all they can, feel the need to lash out?  Are they afraid of the unknown or afraid they might be asked to change and it might be uncomfortable?

Or is it just easier to do what they've always done?

Gone are the days when we can simply blame a student's lack of success on his or her economic situation, language ability, parental involvement, or willingness to learn.

Whether we agree with it or not, we have to teach them all and we are responsible for the outcomes.

Also, gone are the days when you can always do what you always did. How we approach teaching has to be as varied as the students in our classrooms. What works for one student or group, may not work for another and we don't get to blame the students for that.

(We can satirize them anonymously on a blog while writing under a pseudonym, but we can't blame them.)

Now I understand that middle school and high school are different animals, and students have a greater say in their success or failure, but I am an elementary school teacher so that is the beast I understand best.

And what I know, without a shadow of a doubt, is that kids will walk through fire for a teacher that they believe truly cares about them.

If they know that they are not a number to you, not a statistic, not a success or a failure to you, not a pie graph or data to be analyzed they will work hard for you.

If you tell every one of them that there is NOTHING they can do that will make you not care about them, they will work hard for you.

If you tell them that they are so important to you that you want to know their families and regularly invite them to informal events where you just chat and get to know them personally, they will work hard for you.

And parents will know you on a deeper level, which naturally endears you to them.

If you repeatedly tell students that you don't care what score they get on their tests, but only that they try their best, they will work hard for you.

And their scores will go up.

If you tell them that learning to be a better person is more important than being a better student, and you try your best everyday to model the level of respect you want them to show others, they will work hard for you.

And their scores will go up even higher.

And you will risk being hated by your colleagues for not focusing on the same things they focus on, yet having more academic success than they are.

And those colleagues...

can suck it!

3 comments:

Jennifer K said...

You are exactly right! This very thing has been happening at my school this year. Some people just don't think they need to change. What's always been done doesn't work. "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Albert Einstein

kate said...

Well stated!

Midnight Cookies said...

Rock on Teacher!