My students at AHS handed in their first writing assignment a couple weeks ago.  160 essays on three goals students hope to accomplish in their lives. 

Much to my dismay, I can probably count on one hand how many essays were completely original.  This isn't surprising though, 10th graders are all at the same point in life, so it of course they all want to get their licensee.  That makes sense. 

However, what ultimately left me frustrated about these essays was that nearly every student included that they wanted to get good grades.  Good grades make your parents proud.  Good grades get you into college.

Let me be clear: I'm glad my students want to be academically successful. 

However, I feel that their goals are misguided.  And I feel like it is our fault. 

There's a difference between getting good grades and actually learning. My students don't want to push themselves, they don't want to learn. In fact, they resist it every chance they get.  They want to jump through the hoops to get A's with as little mental strain as possible.  

This means that instead of thinking critically, they want to know the right answer in the most concise way possible. They want to be handed the answer so they can memorize it for the test.

I had a homework assignment where one of the questions began with, "What do you think...?"  Students didn't know what to do. 

"Ms. Pridemore, I can't find the answer to number two." 

"That's because it isn't in the book.  I'm not asking you to search the text to find the answers.  I'm asking you to analyze the text and have an opinion."

Teacher frustration.

I will make them think.
I will make them think. 
I will make them think. 

1 comment:

  1. You're amazing and I have the utmost faith you'll get them thinking!