Thursday, October 07, 2010

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us

When students are not doing the work we've asked them to do, maybe the problem is us. I'm coming at this issue as a first grade teacher and I know that affects my thinking. First graders are interested and excited about everything - or at least they can be if you sell it to them. So, when we see that they are not doing the activity, discussion, or work we are asking them to, we need to reevaluate our expectations.

I just unsubscribed from a blog that I often enjoy because of the frequent negativity. I understand the need to vent and I know I do it too. I don't understand the idea that young children should do what we require simply because we tell them to. I question what is required of me often. Sometimes I will do it after I learn why and sometimes I won't. Sometimes I have to when I don't want to (like report cards) but I don't usually do it well.

We expect students to do because we said so. We wouldn't want to be treated that way. When faced with students who are disengaged, we should look closely at what we are asking.


Jim Randolph said...

I hear adults often saying things about kids when they see one of us straightening a mess of books in the library. Yes, kids make a mess of the books in the library sometimes. But I worked book store retail for years, and the grownups are just as bad if not worse, trust me!

Mamie said...

I TOTALLY agree! I have definitely noticed that when *I* project enthusiasm about WHATEVER lesson/topic/activity we are doing (even a "boring" math page or a challenging writing activity from the reading program)the kids "catch" my attitude. When *I'm* having a blah day or let my own dislike of a subject/activity show through, they catch that too!

Launa Hall said...

Great post. So true. I was just having a congenial disagreement with a colleague on this issue, and I was doubting myself...should I be punitive when they don't pay attention in circle time, as she is? I appreciate your words, reminding me that my instinct is right--instead of being punitive, I need to reevaluate circle time and figure out how to set up 5-yr-olds for success.

The Science Goddess said...

I have also chosen to withdraw from some feeds---although mainly on Twitter. Oddly enough, the fewer EdTech zealots I follow, the happier place my stream is. For blogs, I have typically moved them off my sidebar and just followed awhile in RSS, deciding whether or not I wanted to drop altogether. I know that people blog for all sorts of purposes---and venting is one of them---but I just don't need more negativity coming at me from the world.