As a student, I was a pain in my teachers' collective behinds. I slept in my morning classes because I had inconsistent sleep paterns and had a long drive to get to school. I goofed off in most of my other classes because they were easy for me and I was bored. I struggled in my math classes because it didn't come easy to me so I didn't want to do it. It made m feel bad and I wasn't good with asking for help. I was a mess. How'd I make it? I got help from teachers I trusted in math because I wanted to succeed/go to college and math was in my way. What did I do after spending a day goofing off and sleeping? I did all my work at home and turned everything in when it was due. ON TIME. My parents would get the honest truth when they came to conferences. My teachers would tell them I didn't do what i was "supposed to do" in class but that it wasn't a problem because I was completing all of my work on time and to a high quality.
As a teacher, I see students with the same feelings. Our circumstances are different of course, but I do understand the boredom and fear of failure. My thought is always "I did it, so I know you can too." It's not fair of me to assume my students have the same skills and preparation that I have because they don't, but I refuse to believe that because they have challenging circumstances that I can't hold them accountable or believe they would do better if they refused to quit.
The educational pendulum has swung from students and their parents to teachers. We are expected to shoot the moon to find the passion of each of our 140 kids and still have time be normal human beings outside of work. Ideas like those expressed in artciles like this are great, but not when you and your school are held to strict district guidelines with harsh, sometiems unforgiving consequences. I'd love to let my kids explore and find their passions, but they wouldn't learn the information I have to teach them for the tests that determine their future.
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