Friday, February 27, 2009

I Can Say This- I Am A Teacher

If you see a teacher during the first week of March, give them a hug; it is TAKS time.

Here we go again with faulty reasoning and skewed thinking .

We can hold teachers accountable for a multitude of responsibilities, but whether our kids are smart is not one of them.

We can hold them responsible for opening doors to that intellect, enhancing that intellect, and even for teaching our children how to use that intellect.

We can hold them accountable for awakening that intellect and for inspiring a thirst for learning that can't be quenched.

I just don't think we can expect them to install that intellect.

I also believe that intrinsic motivation and curiosity far surpass extrinsic motivation any day of the week. I do not believe that the thought of a specific reward, the day of the exam, will determine whether or not a student does well .

I do not believe that student A thinks, 'I am going to answer these questions incorrectly because no one has offered me pizza , in order for me to do otherwise.'

Unfortunately, the preparation necessary to master this form of state testing is not usually geared to awakening a lust for learning that today's world demands . Just take a look at the faces of students sitting in TAKS tutoring sessions to see what I mean. Expressions of feigned indifference or anxiety ridden terror, yes. Light bulb moments of understanding, painstakingly nurtured by the TAKS tutor, yes.

Just know that there are a multitude of reasons why students may fail the TAKS test, and it may have nothing to do with how smart they are or how successful they will become.

Our world is filled with brilliant, highly successful adults whose high school record didn't meet someone's standards.

Blaming a teacher exclusively for student performance is a little like blaming a car manufacturer for how someone ultimately drives a car: safely or dangerously.

However , having said that, I know without a shadow of a doubt that every teacher across the street from where I live is giving it their best college try- in fact more than that- regardless of what anyone else says or does.

That is the purest form of intrinsic motivation.

They believe they are responsible.

So when you see a teacher, even if you no longer have children in school, say something. Go out of your way. They have already earned it, regardless of what the scores say in May.

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