My students are used to people (family members, past teachers, employers) having low expectations of them. Their families are constantly waiting for them to mess up. My students, themselves, are sometimes just waiting for the moment they have that life-altering judgment lapse that spins their life out of control. I don’t want to be the teacher that sets the bar so high that no one can reach it. But, I refuse to be the teacher that sets the bar so low that my kids don’t have to put in some work to earn a decent grade. I am struggling with finding a balance between the two.
This struggle made my day yesterday a little bit depressing. I assigned an essay and gave the kids a week to write it. I gave them an outline and walked them through how to fill it out. Showed them how to properly quote text. Brainstormed ideas as a class. Gave them time in class to write (which most of them squandered away). Friday came and I received 6 out of 23 rough draft essays. Wow. I was shocked with how few of the students turned their rough drafts in to me. All they wanted to know was how them not turning their rough draft in was going to effect their grade.
I read through the few essays that I received and many of the students never got around to even answering the questions that were asked. But, last night I came to this realization, I did not adequately teach them how to write an essay. I have had my first failure as a teacher.
I have now gone into re-evaluation phase. What can I do? What did I do well? What did I fail to do? What can I do on Monday to rectify this mess? Yes, there is hope. Yes, this can be fixed. No, I don’t need to be sad. Yes, I need to be proactive. Yes, I will get a chance for redemption.
Sigh. I am already feeling better. I need to in to beast mode. There’s no way around it. I will not give up. I will not lower my standards. They will rise to the occasion. I know that they have it in them. I know that they are capable.
I need to find a solution. I will not give up on my kids this easily (although I know that some of them are hoping that I will).