What I Believe About Students?

I was reading Martha Thornburgh’s post “Do You Believe Students Can Meet Standard?” in which she challenges educators to make a statement about three things they believe about students. Awhile back, I wrote a post about what I believed about teaching in general, but not about students specifically. Martha’s post got me to thinking — just what did I believe about students? So here goes, I’ve been successfully inducted into this meme and I will be tagging a few people in the hopes the meme will continue:

Three Things I Believe About Students:

1. Every student deserves to be taught. One of the things that really bugs me when my own children come home from school (especially my high school daughter) is when they tell me they didn’t learn anything. Now, I know as a former high school teacher that there were probably things they learned but have already forgotten. But when she goes into detail about one particular teacher who hands them a worksheet when they walk in the door and spends the next hour and a half reading magazines at his desk while students are kept quiet with threats of detention, I believe there is some truth to it. In Texas, seniors have it really rough, because they have usually acquired nearly all the credits they need to graduate and have passed all their exit exams before they even begin their senior year. For my daughter, she will only need 3.5 credits next year before she can graduate. Imagine being in that position, then having to sit in a classroom for an hour and a half doing nothing. Students deserve to be taught. Teachers should teach them.

2. Every student has a button. Sometimes it is hard to find, but it is there. Every student in that classroom should be treated as a potential GT student. They should be given opportunities to expand and explore their lessons. They should be given opportunities to teach the class and the teacher something new. They should have hands-on activities, technology-rich activities, collaborative activities, and mind-expanding activities. A classroom should be nearly paperless, as students learn to navigate their 21st century world. Every student has it in them to become successful and thrive. That student sitting in the back of the room shooting spitballs at the ceiling needs something — he or she needs the teacher to find what it is that will make them say “wow”. It is difficult, but the reward of seeing that light turn on in a student’s eyes is well worth the effort!

3. Every student wants to learn. Yes, I believe that students want to learn. Otherwise, why would that student whose parents really don’t monitor their lives continue to show up every day? Why would my daughter come home complaining that she didn’t learn anything? Why would they get excited by a good lesson? Because they want to learn. It is human nature to be curious and to want to understand the world around us. From the beginning of time, we have been exercising that nature. Society brings us up to believe that the better educated we are, the more successful we will be. Our students want to learn, they just want to learn in ways that are relevant and engaging to them.

Join me in this meme. If you have a blog, write a post about it and link back to this one. If you don’t, add a comment here. I’m interested to see what other educators believe about their students.

Tag, you’re it!

Steve Dembo
Lee Kolbert
Chris Lehmann
Martha Thornburgh

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4 responses to “What I Believe About Students?

  1. Thanks for joining the conversation. Loved your thoughts. Great point about all students deserving to be taught. Kids should know and be excited about that school is a place where they get to learn new things every day. Not just buy time.

  2. Pingback: What I believe about students « Dkzody’s Weblog

  3. I accepted your challenge and came up with my three beliefs. Come by and check them out.

  4. Thank you for checking out my beliefs. I find that I teach better when we are all having fun, or at least I feel better about the job I am doing. 🙂

    Here’s a challenge I face, though: how do I keep up with the kids? I mean with energy, motivation, keeping up with youth culture? It’s hard work, and I’m not always sure how effective I am. A reason that I am planning to leave teaching in another year.

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