Spring break is just around the corner and soon summer break will begin. It is time to make some reflections about the school year that is about to end.
Very little disturbs me but I get highly aggravated when a year goes by and I do not learn anything. In this article I plan on reflecting on the previous school year so that I can make sure that next year is even better than this year.
My students have been very consistent this year. They have continued to make sure that I am aware that they will not be doing homework on week-days, week-ends, or any day that begins with a M, T, W, F, or S. On occasion they will copy someone elses’ homework if it is convenient.
Okay, I can live with that. If students are not going to do homework then we as teachers must make sure that they have golden opportunities to learn all they need to know, to be a successful part of society, right there in our classroom.
So, that being said, have I had any success teaching eighth grade social studies this year? The answer to that question is NO. You see I measure success by numbers. If all 75 of my students learn U. S. History, then it has been a successful year. Each of my students is just like you. They are special and deserve the best that this earth has to offer.
But, we do not always get what we deserve. So I ask my self, " Why is it that I have not been able to successfully teach my students about their own history?" The only answer I can come up with is that they do not want to learn about their history. Over half of my students would be willing to take a C and not even show up for class if that was one of their alternatives.
You see we all have alternatives in America today. The choice that most students make is actually working in their favor. The less they do. . . the less we give them to do. Most studies say that students who receive homework from their teachers do not perform any better on standardized test than those that do receive homework. Educators may perceive this in one of two ways. They may say, " Well, why give homework? It does not make any difference in the outcome. " Or they could come to the conclusion that by giving homework, we are setting our students up for failure.
The last thing that I want to do is set my students up for failure. Since only twenty per cent will do their homework at all and half of the rest will end up copying from the students that did their homework, I am not going to give homework to my students. This will actually give me more time to TEACH. I am going to spend every minute of class time teaching my students what I expect them to know. Without homework we will not have to spend the first 15 minutes going over the homework and we will not spend the last 15 minutes assigning and practicing for the new homework. I will design my lesson plans to include interactive activities that teach my students what they need to know and enables me to evaluate them through facilitation and observation of the activity.
I am not sure if my plan will change anything at all. I do know though that if I consider doing things the exact same way next year, then If I am sane, I should expect the same results. That is simply not acceptable. I expect each of my students to be better prepared for the society that we live in before they go on to the next grade. It would be hypocritical if I did not have similar expectations for myself. I expect to be a better teacher next year than I have been this year. In essence we must learn from each other, listen to each other, and above all. . . love each other.
I have enjoyed teaching for over thirty years. Yes, It is my career of choice. I feel like I was born to work with middle school students. But my number one priority has been Him. My number two priority has been my wife and daughter. This has left me just enough time for my hobbies and career.