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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

3 Things I believe about Every Student

Three Things I believe about All Students

1- Purpose
I believe every person is put on this earth to do something - made for a purpose that only they can do if they are fulfilling the purpose that they are born for.  Good teachers help them find that purpose -- find the things that they are incredibly good at doing.

I believe that the Good Lord isn't going to let any of us be good at EVERYTHING - it just doesn't work that way.  So, if we're really good at something, we're often horribly poor at other things.  So, the kids who are great at academics are often not so great at other things - sometimes sports, interpersonal skills, art, etc. -- no pattern or stereotype - just kids good at academics have other weaknesses.

Likewise, kids that aren't great at academics often are social geniuses and build multinational corporations from nothing with their knowledge of people.  Or they are amazing artists, sound engineers, movie makers, and more.  Kids who aren't great at academics usually just aren't going to make great teachers.

In today's society, there is no reason that we cannot integrate all of the learning styles which will also help kids find their purpose.

I believe that a student's grade does not determine their grade as a person -- we're all Grade A people because I believe we're made in God's image.  Sadly, many never find their purpose - but everyone has one.

2 - Plan
I believe that everyone benefits from a plan.  Understanding how to set goals and that no situation is every hopeless is so important.  Keeping a calendar, having a list, and having parents that will help their child find what they are good at is vital.

I believe that children should be part of their own goal setting and planning for their lives and when they hit about ninth grade is the perfect time for them to start setting long range plans - even if it is for that year or "by their senior year" type plans. 

Children want meaning and want to know that their is a plan and that they are part of a plan.  This doesn't mean that they are "locked in" to anything, only that they have goals to work towards and a plan for getting there.

Additionally, good teachers intentionally plan to reach all students - all learning types.  The social learners, the bodily kinesthetic learners, the nature learners... etc.  When teachers plan to differentiate and schools plan to make the resources available to let this happen then the potential of students is unlocked.  Good schools have a plan for this year, the next 2-3 years and the next five years.  Teachers plan for the week.  It is through planning that we can achieve excellence and reach a broader swath of students - particularly the unengaged unmotivated students that are quitting high school in droves. 

3- Promise
I believe that schools make a promise to children.  A promise to hold in trust the child's future and to do right by their future self.  A promise to do only good and not do harm.  A promise to solve the problems that the school can solve and to be an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. 

Children hold the promise of our future.  I believe when you see kids who've gone off the path towards a bright future that often there are "promise breakers" along the line -- parents who've broken the promise to care for and nurture their kids, teachers who've broken the promise to do whatever it takes to teach the child and yes, even schools that have broken their promise to do a good job and have put too many students in a teacher's classroom and made it impossible for the teacher to be a promise keeper.

But children also have to know that as much as they are a promise of the future that no one promises them a bright future.  It is something that they MUST work for.  And that success doesn't mean a lot of money - there is more than money in life.  A promising future comes from a good education, finding a purpose, and having a plan and the work ethic to go along with it.  Children need to know that they are a promise and that there is hope for a good future. 

Children are beautiful, wonderful, and sometimes frustrating people but they are people.  They deserve the respect that we afford to other adults, because, trust me, one day they will be an adult and the contempt an adult has for those "promise breakers" from their youth, when they were  a helpless child is almost insurmountable.

If you want to have horrible problems in your school system in 15-20 years - treat the students terribly today.  Have harsh policies and do things to steal the dreams of the kids.  I predict a backlash against testing from the kids who run down the halls nauseated from the pressure of "TEST DAY."  Surely, there is a better way that is still measurable and fair.  Why do kids have to make up for the adults that aren't doing  a good job or for misalignment between local curriculum and national tests? 

We need more adults who LOVE their students and their children and are willing to do whatever it takes to help them get a great education.  And yes, I said love.  Every good teacher I know says they "love" their students.  I love mine and am thrilled and proud of them.  Doesn't mean they are all lovable - but yet, I love them.

So, what do you think?  I tag any of you who read this and want to share to give your "three thoughts" about students - the meme is below.

Here is information on this Meme:

I'm not a meme kinda person, but this one is one I want to be a part of .

From Nicole over at Teaching Tomorrow who shares this:

Martha Thornburgh of Opening Doors to Digital Learning was asked the question “Do you believe all students can meet standards?”  Please read about her response on her blog. The “All Students Meme” came about as a result.
1. Share three things that you believe about all students.
2. Reflect on your thoughts in your blog. (If you do not have a blog, you can share your ideas in a comment from this post.)
3. Be sure to link to this post and to where you were first tagged.
4. Tag your response with AllStudentsMeme
5. Invite others to join the conversation by tagging them to be a part of the meme.

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