When you are a substitute teacher, that substitute does not see the real classroom; that person sees a version of “I know I can fool you because you are not my real teacher.” So, I take that into account when I enter the secondary grades. I do know, though, that most students are finished with the hormonal transition that turns them into beasts of burden of the junior high level (remember, I do not tread those halls) and they kinda (and I use that word with hesitation) know something (they have yet to figure that out) that education is important to their life. Yet, they know they can pull the wool over your eyes (I don’t think so!!!), and they really work at not be accountable for their work in the classroom.
So, my question is, what happened between 3rd grade when the student is so eager and so proud of his work to being in 10th grade and the student is so tired and so unresponsive to his work?
I really don’t know. But, I guess if I could answer that question I would be a hit on the talk-show circuit.
As a nation, we say education needs more money, but I wonder, after the initial expenses are met, if money is the reason. I think it is more. I think it’s going back to making the student eager to learn, giving the student challenges and helping that student succeed.
I don’t want to trivialize this subject because it is huge … it is our future. This (education and our youths) will determine whether we continue to be a world power or lose our footing and let other nations dominate us. But, I do think it is simpler than bureaucratic funding and regulations. I believe it is getting back to the simple. I believe it is helping the student believe in him or herself, that he or she has the answer within, that he or she just needs to trust in himself to speak up, to try. I believe it is small groups of students instead of large classrooms where Andy is still poking Sally, Trevor has to go to the bathroom, Tyrone wants to go to the counselor’s office (a new excuse once you enter the secondary level), and now Jose is nodding off, and Nancy can’t quite seem to keep her head off the desk.
I wonder if the computer is part of the answer.
I will have more on that next time, but until then I would like to know your thoughts on how we, as a nation, can inspire our high schoolers to achieve. I still believe they are the 3rd graders who were so eager to learn and so proud of their success.