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Teach Me

Posted on 2011.07.10 at 03:46
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I have been reading posts on my students' facebook for a while and recently have been going through notes they posted. I was thinking about what the district is wanting to teach...thinking. And you know, our kids are thinking. Yes, we need to keep guiding them, but they are asking questions, they are seeking knowledge, they are thinking about the world around them. It's the teachers and administrators that are not pushing them hard enough and not offering the proper type of guidance.

Everyone gets so focused on test scores, and I understand why but in the end we cannot neglect their actual education. The district is right to take on this endeavor, but I'm not sure they understand it is the adult thinking that needs to change the most. Certainly this must be embedded into our curriculum, but this shouldn't be some huge change we make in what we do; just a subtle change in how we do what we do. Asking me to include math, reading, and writing in my class isn't going to achieve this because that isn't the issue. I saw students this summer posting about the destruction of drugs, the pain of violence, the economic state of the country, and about finding true happiness in life. These are not superficial issues and they are working through their ideas to find an answer. Don't tell me they aren't thinking or thinking deeply.

The problem isn't the students, the location, or the background at all. The problem is us. The adults are not utilizing what is already natural to the students. We must push our students to think deeper, to determine what is best, and how to figure out what the root of the issue is. Are we? Are we making the connection to the students enough to even attempt it? Or are we so focused on tests, reading and math objectives, and jumping through hoops that we are missing the whole point of education? Why are we taking time away from the subjects, like music, that tie all the rest together and push students from the concrete into the abstract? If the district wants to teach how to think better, the district itself needs to change its approach--quantity is never the answer. I'm not pointing a finger at any one in particular, just collectively we need to change this. We have teachers doing it, but the majority are not.

Are you willing to take the risk and friend them? Are you willing to take the risk and teach them outside of school? Are you willing to take the risk and ask the difficult question? Are you willing to take the risk and tell them the truth? Are you willing to take the risk and show them a little about who you are? Are you willing to take the risk and take a moment to ask? Are you willing to take a risk and learn from them? Are you willing to take the risk and really teach them?

To any student who reads this: Whether you are a student, past or present, I am so very proud of you right now. Keep thinking, keep caring, and keep pushing to find the answers!

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