Monday, April 19, 2010

I wonder about the futures of some of my students, this year, more than ever. Some of them are destined for greatness; I can see them making a positive difference in the world someday, inventing, creating, imagining, teaching, leading. I see them reaching beyond the ordinary, finding cures, solutions, and innovations. These are the students with spark and imagination, curiousity and determination. They aren't necessarily my straight A kids, often not even the best behaved in my classes. But inside their minds, their personalities, and their willpower, I see the drive for success.

I worry about the others. The ones who sit, with that blank stare of disinterest, day after day, assignment after assignment, opportunity after opportunity. They can't be drawn into the conversation; they won't attempt anything challenging. They can't even be bothered to show up with a pencil, or their book. No doubt, some of these students will find their way, make their mark on the world eventually. But what about the others.... are they truly predestined for emptiness their entire lives?

It makes me wonder about intervention programs, early on. Can we really spot, at 7th grade, the students who will be 'failures' in life? If so, even with partial accuracy, would monies be better spent on intervening at this level than waiting for adulthood when interventions consist of incarceration, welfare handouts, or institutionalizing them?

What would interventions look like? Would they change the home environment? Would they change to school to look differently to fit their unique needs? What would that look like?

Is money better spent early on to find ways to create productive citizens? Would we rather spend money on education or prisons? Is the solution really that simple?


Michele said...

What a powerful example of the many kinds of minds each and every teacher has in his/her classroom -- from students who are well-wired for school to those who find school to be a difficult, and sometimes humiliating, place to be. As teachers, all of these students are our students and we strive to find ways to reach and encourage all of them.

I wonder what inspires the disengaged students? What are their strengths? What parts of school do they find rewarding, and why? Where are they successful - in school or out - and what does that tell us about how they learn best - and how to best teach them? This is the complexity of teaching, but what a reward when we help even one student know what success feels like! Maybe part of the intervention is helping these students understand their kind of mind and how to talk about their learning needs.

Michele said...

Check out Schools for All Kinds of Minds from All Kinds of Minds!