We don't need no education...

I feel like the overrunning topic this week has been about education, but I can't apologize. After all, I am a teacher. Today, Wednesday, is the day that my "team" meets at school. Now, before you go off thinking that I am a coach of some sort, that is not true, but rather my team is a group of four teachers who share a common group of kids. We meet every Wednesday to try to solve various issues with our students, but today was a bit about reflecting on the first half of the year and thinking a bit about where we are going.

Another teacher today asked me, "How do you help a student who just doesn't care?"

My students have no idea how to study. Now, I'd like to think that it is just this particular group of students, but I suspect that it goes far beyond the walls of my school. There is something missing and we are not doing a good job of filling the gap. They ACTUALLY have no idea! They genuinely believe that getting work and completing it incorrectly (or not at all) will have no impact on the end results. Again, I am not just about assessing kids, but rather understanding what they know. For example, I have told my students that they will be able to use their vocabulary book on an assessment I am giving this next week. I guarantee that some will show up without it or some will not have it complete, even though we do it together in class. Most will not look over their vocabulary before the assessment, thus making it difficult to complete the assessment effectively. I will talk with them this week, but I have seen it happen before. They have no sense of urgency until moments before their final grades are due.

I don't have a solution here, but rather observations. As the years go by, students are less and less willing to take a risk academically, but especially they are less willing to persist at a "problem." If they cannot figure it out at a glance, without reading the directions first, most will quit. Now I know I am making broad sweeping statements, but I am saying that MOST will quit, which saddens me to the core. The idea of persistence is totally lost on them. They are they one try wonders...

How do we get them motivated? How do we get them to see that this is the ONE place in their life that they have total control and to understand the consequences of the choice (they may not understand) they're making? This is where my knowledge stops and the questioning begins. I don't know this path, but I want to find others in the education system who are willing to help me find a solution.

There is this very "technical" event that happens in the 8th grade called 'The 8th grade slump." Our kids seems to backslide during their 8th grade year in reading and math. There is no real reason for this to happen, but it does and it's happening everywhere. I feel that I could dance on the table and they still would not find value or interest in what is happening in the classroom. Some cannot even be bothered by the smallest of effort. I just want to cry. I want to be a part of the solution...I want there to be an 8th grade hill or mountain for that matter.

So here we are, half way through the year, looking to make movement forward. My questions will likely continue. I want to be part of the solution that looks to improve how we are delivering curriculum to our students, but more important I want to be part of how to teach students how to learn.

Years from now I don't want my students humming, "we don't need to education" as a memorial to the knowledge they have lost, but rather doing a victory dance over the education and knowledge that they've won!


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