acheivement, being a teacher, believe

What Happened to Our Dreams and Expectations?

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I am reading the local paper about the growing achievement gap between minorities and as my heart grows heavy, my mind starts to spin.  What happened to our expectations for all of our students?  What happened to having the same dream that ALL students can achieve, even those that face special disabilities, crippling poverty or lack of parental support?  We, as teachers, are supposed to be the last bastion, those that choose to believe in all of our students, no matter their race, their background, their belief in themselves.

I look inward and wonder when was the last time I asked for a file for a non-minority student that transferred in?  When did my own assumptions cloud my belief that all students can achieve and that I just have to set the bar high enough and then support, encourage and challenge?  That every year the slate should be wiped clean when they enter into my room, and yes, I may stare at those pages of past behaviors and troubles but that they should not be come my roadmap for the future?

I pledge again to believe in all of them.  To set the expectations high and to support them where they need it.  To look past color but not become colorblind.  To see the whole child and not the papers that follow them or the path they chose before.  To defend my students from academic prejudice and grow along with them.  One young man in the paper said that if perhaps he had just had someone believe in him, told him he could have done it, his path wouldn’t have lead to jail.  Perhaps he is right, the path cannot be changed, but at least I am willing to do just that; believe in all those children.  Will you believe with me?

2 thoughts on “What Happened to Our Dreams and Expectations?”

  1. I remember seeing several students come through my class whose cognitive capacity was more than adequate – these kids were clever. But they couldn't read and didn't know how to perform because, it appeared, no one had encouraged them to. They had been stereotyped, at some point, as SED, and therefore not supported – never mind that SED kids ought to be supported and encouraged even more than the average kid, if that's possible.It's no shock that teachers are losing sight of the kids. Every child is a number with an expiration date – in the age of standardized score and graduation rate mandates, it's not about the needs of the kids. It's about the needs of the numbers. We're solving the wrong problems.

  2. I have been following your blog for several months now and am daily impressed with your thoughtful, sensitive, and practical wisdom. Keep up the good work.

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