|Basketball (Photo credit: mvongrue)|
“…Awe but Mrs. Ripp, I won’t need to know how to do this because I am going to be a famous basketball player…”
I hold back a snort. Really? A famous basketball player? In my head, the statistics of this ever coming true run through at lightning speed, I am about to say something, and then I stop. Who am I to squash a dream, even if in my eyes it is an unrealistic one?
So I take a different approach. “Did you know that even famous basketball players have to go to high school, have to learn, have to go to college?” The boy stares at me. “Did you know that this will directly lead into more math that we are going to do and I have a feeling you are going think it is really fun? Did you know that to be a true role model you shouldn’t just be great at basketball but you should also show the world just how smart you are?” The boy nods, still unsure of what I am saying, but I walk away, dreams still in place, not squashed by this teacher.
As a teacher, I used to be the biggest realist I knew. I was quick to tell students what they could or could not do, the odds of something happening to them. I felt it was part of my job to set them up for “real life” with real expectations and real failure coming their way. Now I know better, there is no sense in destroying dreams, even if we know it may not happen. There is no sense in taking hope away from children. What we can do, though, is to show them everything else that is important; how an education fits into their dreams. How an education may be the ticket to get them where they need to be. Hoa an education is not a waste of their time, so don’t make it a waste of their time. Make it something they want to have, make school a place they want to go to. A lofty goal perhaps, but a necessary one.