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What do we expect from our students?

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November 2011

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I’ve spent my morning working on a post on formative assessment.  It’s an important topic, and one I enjoy learning about and discussing.  Today, however, I’m left finding it difficult to concentrate on my work.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been experiencing extreme fatigue throughout the day.  Most days I can just work through it, but today, as I took a break from work to lie down on the couch (ah, the benefits to self-employment), it made me think about students in a traditional classroom.  How many of our kids come to us hungry, tired, sad, under-the-weather?  I would gauge to guess, more than go noticed.  See, I could have a meeting with someone, work on a project, or make phone calls and completely hide the exhaustion I’m feeling.  I spent the day with three of my closest friends yesterday, and even they didn’t know.  Our society, in general, is of the mindset that one works during the work day.  This includes children.  Go to school in the morning, work hard for the next seven hours, come home (do homework, chores, part-time job, family time, sports, music lessons…).  If they seem a bit out of sorts at school, or just not acting as they normally do, do they catch a break?  Do their teachers even notice?  If so, do they talk (and listen!) to the student to try and find out what’s going on?  Or do they tell the child to pull a clip, move a stick, go to the principal, issue a detention, etc?  I’ve been a classroom teacher.  I know the struggle of seeing and meeting the needs of twenty-five eight-year-olds.  But, I also know the value of truly investing in each of them.  I have experienced the joy of watching them bloom.  And, as a parent, I see the difference in my children when they are learning from a teacher who cares about them individually.

While, our children in a traditional school setting don’t have the luxury of giving themselves a quick rest break to regroup, I hope they do have teachers who will see them.

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