Thursday, March 17, 2011

Teaching often becomes a power struggle with the teacher trying to overcome the reticence of students to accomplish the tasks in front of them. Unfortunately, it is a battle seldom won by the teacher. We can threaten, cajole, beg, bribe.... but we can't make those horses drink from our troughs.

Sometimes, a little extra one on one attention can change the reluctance to willingness, with some students. For other students, it is almost a contest to see who can hold out the longest in the head to head competition.

There are those who think it is simple... sit next to the student and make them do the work. Sure, that might work, but what about the students who also need, but want the help as well? What about the increasing number of reluctant learners/workers in the typical classroom? Is it possible to solve all those problems all the time just by sitting one on one? In my experience, not always. While I as a teacher may be able to encourage and get a student started on an assignment, I cannot always get them to the independent working stage.

Others swear if we give students choices and options in their learning, we can engage them more readily. Sure, I agree! But reality says, I am told what I must teach by the state, and those topics are not always easily attached to some topic that interests each and every student. Sometimes, they truly must learn it because they have to. I can work to make topics relevant, real life and meaningful, as much as possible, but again, some topics lend themselves more readily to this approach. Realistically, we just don't have to explore how peripherally topics may relate to each child's individual interests.

School should be engaging. Learning should be fun. But sometimes, students just have to learn because we, their teachers, tell them to. They have to do the work because we are told we must teach it to them, because THE TEST will test them on it.

No comments: