My high school students do not understand why I drive 75 miles to another town on Monday nights for six weeks to teach a Spanish class for adults. Until they are adults, they may not get it.
I usually teach high school kids who are in the class because they need it to graduate. Learning is not their main purpose for being there. Some students really want to learn, but they are few and far between. Most want to do the minimum work and receive a maximum number grade.
The adults who sign up for class want to be there. They are intrinsically motivated, so they will pay for the class and show up for it. These adults come ready to learn. Some are a bit intimidated by the material, but they are willing to try. That’s what matters. We manage to have a lot of fun in class, believe it or not. I usually bring some candy—Smarties or Hershey’s kisses—and we play games to help learn vocabulary.
Last night, one lady had some sugared fruit for a snack, and our gentleman brought some doughnuts for us. There’s always coffee and the company is great. I will be so sad to teach next Monday because it is our last night for the semester.
I walked home from work this morning to check on Ysabela and the dogs. I figured I’d find her connected to her head phones listening to music and playing on Facebook. I was only half right.
She did, indeed, have her head phones connected, but not to her phone and music. She was listening to a video on the computer. Would you like to guess the topic? I was excited and amazed that she had signed herself up for a free astronomy class through Udemy.com!
We have been chatting about homeschool options, as you may remember from earlier posts, so I think her initiative in this case is saying something important. I will wait and see if her motivation stays high, then we will revisit our decisions for this school year and make any necessary adjustments for next year.
I remember when I was a junior or senior in high school, a graduate of my school wrote a letter to the school board. S/he complained about not being sufficiently prepared for college at the time of graduation.
At first, I felt afraid that I would not be ready for college either, but then I really thought about it. I felt like I was learning in all my classes. I had to work harder to achieve in some classes than others, but I did well. Math was my hardest class, but I still made it through with the basics I needed to move on. That’s when I decided that the author of that letter probably didn’t apply him/herself to studying. I believe you get out what you put into things.
Teachers spend a lot of time trying to teach students. Students spend a lot of time trying to avoid learning much, but they still cry and whine when they don’t have an A or a B in their classes. If students want to do well, they must learn enough to “pass.”
Students, if you have trouble in a class, go for extra help. Teachers are more than willing to spend the time it takes for you to understand a concept. If sports practices are more important to you than your grades, go practice. Just don’t be mad when you discover YOU had your priorities all confused. Don’t whine and beg for extra credit. Extra credit implies that you have done all you can to achieve and are still not doing well. If you have missing assignments, don’t cry to the teacher for bonus points. It’s not fair to the other students who work as hard as possible on a daily basis.
I have seen a few kids breeze through high school without studying much. Many do well in college, but a few of those students actually have to STUDY to succeed in the university. It’s not a bad thing! Saying it’s “too hard” and giving up—those are bad things. If it were super easy, anyone could and would do it!
The goal of education is to challenge young minds to think and solve problems. If every student had 100% in every class, it would imply that the curriculum may not be challenging enough. That’s not education.
Parents, try not to pressure your kids to get 100% all the time. It is NOT a reasonable expectation. Many times, it can backfire. Let your kids learn and have the freedom to fail once in a while. Only then will your children understand the value of the lessons.