Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Need to vent...

OK, I need to vent for a moment...

Now, before I do, let me be the first to admit that my children are not at all immune to this problem...

OK, so that being said, there seems to be a common problem among pretty much all the students I've ever taught...and parents, I'm not sure we realize this is a problem! (or maybe we do and we don't know how to fix it!)

I started back to school yesterday after a fantastic 3 week break. Our school is a University Model School, which means we go to class on MWF and we do our independent practice at home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Monday, we had a snow day, so the students had to review on their own, at home, on Tuesday before they came to class on Wednesday. I was amazed and very dismayed at the lack of effort put forth from my high school students. They did the least amount of work possible and therefore, did not seem to ready for an intelligent conversation about the material when they came to class on Wednesday. To top it all off - they did not bring all their supplies. I teach High School Math classes - so they need a calculator...but so many said they forgot. What?! You had 3 weeks to get your stuff together and you forgot?! AND - in anticipation of the assumed procrastination, I sent an email on Tuesday reminding them to bring their supplies: vocab books, calculators, etc. So, you can imagine my frustration!

So, here are my questions of angst...parents and educators...
HOW do we motivate our students to WANT to learn????
HOW do we encourage them to take responsibility for themselves????
HOW do we communicate the need to be responsible, self-motivated, life-long learners????

Even yesterday - a student asked me "when am I ever going to use this?" We were discussing the quadratic equation that goes with a rocket launch and how to graph it on a calculator. So the answer is...unless you're an aerospace engineer, I DON'T KNOW!!! But, I do know, that you will need to go to your job PREPARED! I know that if your boss asks you to complete a report, he actually NEEDS the report on the day he requests it! I do know, that you will need to be able to figure out technology, so figuring out this calculator will absolutely help towards that goal. I do know that you will need to be able to make connections between things you learn, in order to solve problems on your making connections now and solving problems now will only help towards that goal!

I saw some snippets from a horrible movie the other day...I don't even know the name of it...but the premise (from what I could gather) was that Americans had gotten so stupid from years and years of lazy education. This spoof, set in the future, was making fun of what the world would be like if we continue in our current pattern. Now, before you hear an attack on our education system - let me clarify! Our education system ROCKS!! American teachers are some of the hardest working, most dedicated people I know!! We work hours that you could never imagine. We are constantly being trained on the latest findings regarding learning and education. We are constantly researching new and better ways to teach. We are constantly evaluating and being evaluated regarding our effectiveness at actually seeing results. We push ourselves to the brink of mental and emotional strain every day...

...and then we walk into class, prepared, confident, ready to impart this awesome wisdom we worked so hard to make sure would be clearly communicated...

...and a student interrupts our introduction to say,
"Miss...I didn't have time to finish my homework."
"Miss...I forgot my calculator."
"Do we have to write this down?"
"Do we have to draw the diagram?"
"When are we ever gonna use this?"

...and so we walk out of the classroom defeated, down-trodden, and ready to cry because yet again, our research and study was for no avail...they didn't get it...they don't care... what do we do?? We TRY HARDER!!!!!!!!!!

Alright...I feel better! Now, I'm going to make my children do their homework and do it RIGHT!! And, I'm going to make sure they are prepared to ADD to the class discussion tomorrow! And if they do not, I am going to pray and ask the Lord's wisdom for the appropriate consequences. Because God gave these 3 children a brain and He intends for them to use it to solve problems for HIS kingdom! And it's MY job to teach them how!!!

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