I have been wanting to write this blog for several days now. But I keep thinking I need to research. I need to find great quotes to support my ideas. I need to fine tune each word and have a clear cohesive argument. And then the voice in my head said “Just do it!” and I realized that was my greatest argument for this topic. “Just do it! Just expect students to succeed!!!”
I have been mired in conversations for weeks now about teacher expectations of students. I thought it was just me who felt like everywhere I turn I see teachers and an educational system unwilling to expect great things of kids. Then my PLN on Twitter shared some similar frustrations and I knew I wasn’t alone. In some ways, what a relief! In other ways, utter frustration!!! What is it that makes some folks unwilling to believe that kids can achieve? How does one combat an attitude that looks for every little stumble a “troubled” student makes and tries to turn it into a major issue? How do you convince a classroom teacher that they do not have to create a mile long list of rules and consequences based on what students “might do” in a classroom? How do you convince people that well thought out, engaging lessons can motivate even the most reticent kid and preempt 90% of those potential behavior issues? How do you convincingly convey that teacher expectations greatly impact student achievement? How do you get people to look beyond a student’s history and see the young person in front of them?
I have been wrangling with these questions for days now and I think I have a plan. It’s rather subversive. But I hope it might just do the trick. I’m going to…teach. I’m going to enter my classroom each day and expect great things of my students. I’m going to work with my students to create a classroom definition of respect that will guide all that we do. I’m going to keep my students in mind when planning lessons so that they will be engaging and motivating for them. I’m going to focus on the positive steps they take and respectfully help them reflect when they make a misstep. I’m going to hold them accountable to do their best work and help them revise when their work doesn’t reach the levels it should. I’m going to believe in them and believe in them and believe in them until they have no choice but to believe in themselves. And then? I’m going to brag. I’m going to celebrate their successes with them. I’m going to invite others to celebrate their learning with them. I’m going to have them reflect on what they’ve learned and what they still want to learn. We are going to “Just Do It!” and show others it can be done. Think it’ll work?!