Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I Hope

As a parent, it is a mixed blessing being a teacher. It’s like the chef who goes to a restaurant; sometimes knowing the workings of the restaurant can inhibit the enjoyment of the meal. So, as a parent of three…and a teacher, I sometimes know “too much” as I am often reminded from time to time by each of my children.

As this school year starts, my youngest begins his high school career. His first day was inauspicious, very “freshman.” He could not open his locker, got lost in the massive building a couple times, and, somehow, lost his lunch. And that’s not a euphemism, he literally, could not find his lunch. As heartbreaking as that may be, I know those things will work out with developing his routine. What concerns me more is the hope I have for the learning experiences he has in front of him. I would like to share those hopes:

I hope his teachers provide clear expectations and constant feedback.

I hope his teachers use grades to measure progress, not to sort, reward, or punish.

I hope his teachers provide opportunities for him to work collaboratively on problems that matter.

I hope he is able to write for authentic, real audiences other than the teacher.

I hope he is encouraged to read a wide variety of literature, and be able to select some of his own readings.

I hope he is permitted to redo and rework projects.

I hope that he is asked to “do” more than he is asked to “listen.”

I hope he is asked to create and express himself in many different modes.

I hope he is asked to develop a position, and then defend it.

I hope he smiles and laughs often.

I hope he is asked to regularly reflect on his work and the work of others.

I hope he is asked to think deeply instead of respond quickly.

I hope he is asked to tell and listen to stories often.

I hope he has opportunities to create, discuss, and solve issues with students across town or across the country.

I hope he is able to teach, and learn from his peers.

I hope his teachers NEVER offer extra credit for behaviors that have nothing to do with his learning.

I hope his teachers use technology to extend learning .

I hope that his homework is purposeful.

I hope he is allowed to make lots and lots of mistakes; that’s how he’ll learn.

I hope he takes responsibility for his own learning.

I hope he values learning over point-gathering.

I hope his teachers spend less time on test prep, more time on life prep.

I hope he never says “school is boring.”

These hopes may seem idealistic to some. That may be. But I am a teacher. Optimism and idealism are givens. As you begin this school year, always remember that every pair of eyes and ears out there belong to someone.

Someone who hopes.

Have a great year.


Christy said...

I liked your list - my daughter is also a freshman at a new school this year. I would add to the list that I hope her teachers not only push my daughter's thinking/learning, but also allow her thoughts/revelations to push them as well.

Kent said...

Hey Jon,

Add my name to the "teachers who have freshman children" list.

Thanks for your thoughts.


Amor8 said...

Hey Jon,
I am only now catching up with my RSS feed, and I just want to tell you I enjoyed your list. These are great goals for teachers to strive toward & I also share your wishes for my own son.