Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘self fulfilling prophecy’

“Does It Always Have to be the “Good” Ones? Giving All Students a Chance!

I was talking to a high school teacher about the mentor program that was established between the 5th graders and the high school football team.

The response was, “Which football players?”

When I said I wasn’t sure, the response was, “I hope it’s not the ones I’m thinking about!. really hope it wasn’t those kids!” READ MORE…



If You Tell Them They’re Stupid: Our Kids Hear Every Word!

Sometimes I get frustrated with my class when it seems as if they are not listening to me.

You know. When 6 of them ask a question which had already been answered. Or when they ask you for directions after you have just given them.

I have my methods for dealing with those situations, but, it is frustrating, nonetheless.

The other day we were watching a video.READ MORE
photo credit: The U.S. Army via photopin cc

Teach Them Like They’re Future Presidents!

A conversation in a workshop, in a classroom, in a school, in a district, in a city, in a state, in our country. An unfortunate conversation that has probably been repeated many times across the U.S. READ MORE…

Sometimes They Need to Let Us Know, That They Know…


Sometimes they need to know, that we know, that they are capable. Sometimes they need to know, that we know, that they are capable of so much more than what they might exhibit.


We switch classes for Literature Circles (Book Club), whatever you want to call it. I call it, “Let them read, and enjoy  a book time.” The kids in one group were asked to write a brief prediction about their story before they started.READ MORE..




Self Fulfilling Prophecy!(Gloom and Doom)

I remember when I was in college a LONG time ago, we learned about the self-fulfilling prophecy. I don’t recall the professor who taught it, but somehow it has managed to stay in my head after all these years.  If you believe it, it could happen, good or bad, positive or negative, our expectations influence those around us. When the professor introduced this concept, he wanted to emphasize the damage we could do to our students if we had preconceived notions about them and what they were capable of.

In the education field this is particularly true.  We have a huge impact on what happens to the hundreds of lives who sit in our classrooms, year after year.  How many times have we heard successful people credit a teacher who believed in them? Teachers who refused to believe that  a particular student would amount to nothing?

Too many times I have heard comments about what “the population” of a school is,or is not, capable of.  Seen students who were judged by the behavior that they exhibited in prior years. Trying to get teachers to incorporate technology in their classrooms, and  being told that the younger students “can’t” do it. Determining the intelligence of  a child based on the behavior of a parent or sibling.

I have always had high expectations for my students, I refuse to lower my standards to fit a mold others think they fit in.  I hold them responsible for their education and believe that they are capable of so much. And I have found, repeatedly, that most of my students rise to my expectations. The new term  is “rigor.” Why is it new? Why isn’t this something we should have always expected from our students? From all of our students?  If we continue to teach students according to our expectations of them, and our expectations are low, what will the results be? If the Robins are challenged every day, and the Sparrows aren’t, when do the Sparrows get a chance to spread their wings, to fly beyond our enforced limits?

I have a student who was truant last school year.  When he arrived in my class, the pattern began again.   He would show up for school twice a week, if that.  According to statistics, the general consensus is that he will eventually drop out of school, and his life will be pretty bleak. He might, he’s 13 in the 5th grade. But now, I am not going to worry about that prophecy, right now I am going to believe that he can, and will, succeed.   He’s only missed one day in weeks. His grades have improved, he is willing to share his thoughts and his work. He raises his hand and participates in discussions. He High 5’s me every morning and afternoon. (The afternoon High 5 is accompanied by the word, “tomorrow.”) He’s so much more than a statistic to me.

I know, it’s pretty idealistic. “I believe, and if I believe , it can happen.” I realize this is not always the case. But wouldn’t it be great if our prophecies were positive, and most of them were fulfilled?

A Fresh Start -Denied!

A colleague came into my classroom the other day, I don’t remember the initial reason she gave for being there, but there she was. I was working amidst chaos, things scattered everywhere because we had just returned to school. After a while she said, “I wish I could see your list.” The “list” being the new students assigned to me. I pretended to look for the list, I knew where it was. “Oh, I’m sorry, I said, I can’t find it.” She started to look on my desk, and I waved her away. “When I find it, I will let you know,” I lied. I wasn’t going to let her see my list, no one would see my list. I refused to stand there as she perused the list and made a , usually negative, comment about each child she had or one of her team members had. I put a stop to that a long time ago, because I think it is unfair to the students. Doesn’t everyone deserve a fresh start? How can a student get a fresh start when teachers insist on providing anecdotes on what happened in their class last year? The same teacher stopped me in the hallway days later, and proceeded to tell me about one of my students she had the year before. When I informed her that I had not seen any of the behavior she mentioned, she shrugged and said she just wanted to give me a “heads-up.” I don’t need a ” heads-up”, what I do need is a fresh perspective on each student, people change, and kids are people too. Let’s give them a chance, let’s give them that “fresh start” we promise them!

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