A couple of weeks ago, my students read an article titled "Making Graduation Meaningful: A Real Qualifications System for U.S. Students" by Marc Tucker, published on Education Week. The article outlines a system of high school with more emphasis on career skills and an opportunity to earn various types of diplomas. The article also highlights the disadvantage faced by students who have uneducated or undereducated parents.
A student's response made me smile -- she allowed me to share it here:
"The kids won't learn if they don't want to. I relate this to the light bulb/therapist joke. How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but it has to want to change first. Imagine this with students and teachers. How many teachers does it take to teach a class? One, but the kids have to want to learn. You see what I'm saying? Maybe one of those lightbulbs is eco-friendly, one is a standard yellow, and one is green, but the teacher is still going to do the exact same thing to all of them."
This student, an introvert who is generally wise beyond her years, argued throughout her response that it is her responsibility to learn and she cannot blame anyone else if she does not.
That level of reflection & responsibility makes her a joy to teach. It's also refreshing to see and so many times I fall into the trap of focusing my energy and time on students who aren't taking responsibility instead of celebrating, teaching, and enjoying students who don't do that. This week I'm going to focus more energy on students who "get it" and want to learn instead of spending all of my positive vibes on those who don't.
The views on this blog are mine alone and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.
Kari teaches English I to 9th graders (!) and other electives in rural Iowa. Her husband is also an English teacher, and their friends have sworn to never help them move again because "even libraries don't have that many books."