Wednesday, September 12, 2018


I listened to this the other day and it really got me thinking.

I have read other similar studies done in high schools where poverty is an issue and where it isn't. The teachers just plain expect less from the kids if it is a poorer school. I was in a training once and the speaker asked how many of us believed our students would go to college. I was one of the only people who raised their hand. It made me sad. If you don't believe it, guess what-the students won't believe it either.

I work in an area of low economic development. Like you worry about having to leave the building after dark. My students have faced many obstacles before they even started school. Many are speaking a different language at school than they speak at home. Many have multiple siblings and parents just don't have time to sit down with them after school to complete homework. I would say over half have at least one parent who is incarcerated. However, this does not change my expectations for them. I expect them to learn just like the kids across town who have been given every advantage. I still introduce them to the concept of college and truly have hopes that they end up attending.

I think this applies not only to the expectations we have for our students, but also for our faculty members. The school I left last year really set the bar high for teachers. We were expected to teach not just the required curriculum, but also to introduce the upcoming year's objectives. Rigor in our lesson plans was a requirement as well. We pushed our students and made sure they were challenged.
My school now just doesn't have the same culture. The general consensus is that everything has to be cute. It's just a different mentality. This school also does not have what I would consider to be good test scores-they slide by. Now, whether that is due to the family circumstances or the curriculum-I can't say for sure. But I believe that with this administration the expectations are being raised and that will help teachers raise expectations for their classes.

I tell the story often of my dog Ruby. She was 3 months old when I adopted her from a shelter. From the drive home that day she was pretty much a holy terror. The 2nd day I called my mom and asked if they did exorcisms on dogs. :)  I brought in a trainer to help give us tips on how to train her. They observed her at the first session and at the end the woman asked "is she always like this?". Like what? I asked. "Does she not jump into your lap and cuddle with you?" -No. I responded. "Well, I think you should return her to the shelter, she is never going to be the kind of dog you want her to be".  I was flabbergasted! If she as a trainer didn't believe this puppy was going to learn..... needless to say we found another trainer-one who wasn't ready to give up so easily and let me tell you 9 years later and she's the perfect companion for me!

Keep those expectations high-I think the outcomes will surprise you!

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