Saturday, September 25, 2004

Realistic Expectations

After twenty-some years of teaching high school, I am surprised that I continue to struggle with the question of expectations.
Am I expecting too much from my students, that I feel disappointed so often? Do they feel challenged or frustrated? Or are they simply lazy?

I understand that many, many, of my students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and 30 to 50 percent of the pupils in each of my classes are classified as special needs. Yet some kids are very bright, and quite talented. The disparity in abilities, both cognitive and eye/hand coordination is immense.

We finished the posters for the art show to be held during the Vice-Presidential debates in two weeks. I know many of my students were frustrated. We critiqued twice, I pushed for revisions. Several students complained that I expected too much. Even still, I was disappointed in the quality of the work. Perhaps I am not being realistic about their capabilities. I only accepted ten pieces. They should have been better. When the district posts them on their web site I will provide a link and see if you agree with me.
I think I may have to work very hard to earn my salary this year.

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