Friday, December 18, 2009
Save Them From Their Own Immaturity
Something Rick Wormeli said in his workshop last week resonated with one of my colleagues: students need to be saved from their own immaturity. This rang true in my mind this week as I listened to fellow teachers who were upset with students who refused to do homework. I realize I am blessed to teach gifted students who rarely have missing work (although teaching that population does have its own unique challenges). But as I listened to my friends become more and more upset with the kids who refused to do their work, I wanted to tell them that it is their job to save those students from their own immaturity. Junior high kids aren't mentally or emotionally equipped to completely manage their own educations. It is a disservice to our students if they don't do the work and we don't hold them responsible for it, even the kids who simply don't have the chance to do it at home because they have so much other emotional baggage to deal with at home. In fact, THOSE kids need us to save them in a whole different way. We teachers need to be the ones to guide our students in the right direction. We need to make every effort to ensure our students learn, if that indeed is what we want them to do (hopefully it is, since we are teachers). It may be painful for us or inconvenient for us; we may have to deal with a student we don't particularly like or a difficult parent. We may have to stand over a student and direct him or her. We may have to reteach and reteach again. Maybe we have to give up some of our lunch time or plan time. But if we don't save the kids from their own immaturity, we send the message that what we asked them to do doesn't matter; it wasn't that important to begin with (also a message from Rick Wormeli). If we send kids that message just one time, they will assume everything in our class is unimportant and will see no point in performing or learning. If we really want our kids to learn the important things we teach, shouldn't we do all we can to assist in that learning, even if it is uncomfortable for us for a time?