Expecting more from Middle School students – asking the right questions.
Today, as a long and difficult day of teaching pushed to an unsatisfying end, I asked students to end a brief break by returning to their seats no later than five minutes past the hour. They didn’t. Instead they continued lingering in the hall outside of the classroom long past the time set by me. Their conduct is, in my opinion symptomatic of satisfaction with mediocrity. A deal has been struck; only I’m not OK with the deal, and I doubt students’ parents are either.
I walked out and told them I would not be teaching their after-school activity. Dramatic? Perhaps. Demanding? I hope so.
My feeling is that students’ conduct shows a significant lack of respect for me as their teacher. Their passivity in ignoring my request is simply unacceptable. But I’m not sure the students will see it that way. So tomorrow I intend to ask them to respond in writing to these questions, compliments of Alex and Brett Harris in their book Doing Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations:
- What areas of my life do I not care about that I know I should care about?
- In what areas have I settled for just getting by when I know I could do better if I really tried?
- In what areas have I decided that things “will always be this way” without ever putting in the kind of effort that really changes things?
I hope to precede the writing with brainstorming, followed by a socratic seminar. I really hope that students can move beyond lazily meandering their way through school without really thinking about what they are doing. Its all in the attitude.
Posted via email from digitalclass
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