Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Teaching Tip #175

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #175

I came across this interesting read on Twitter last week: 8 Pathways to Every Student’s Success.

3.  Resilience

And the most difficult one for me.  For the past decade or so, I’ve struggled mightily with this.  Each semester goes like this: I hit the ground running and my classes are humming.  Then somewhere at about the 9-12 week mark of each semester, I begin to seriously doubt myself.  Am I pushing my students hard enough?  Do I know what I am even doing?  Are my students learning anything?  Am I even qualified for this job?  

At the heart of those doubts is the idea of resilience: “Resilience is the ability to meet and overcome challenges in ways that maintain or promote well-being. It incorporates attributes like grit, persistence, initiative, and determination.”

Am I doing any of that?  Then with about a week to go in the semester, I get a bit of my confidence back and realize that while the semester wasn’t perfect by any stretch, my kids did do some interesting things and they did, believe it or not, learn somethings.

Still, I always wonder if I’m pushing my students to develop enough grit, persistence, initiative, and determination.  Am I being hard enough on them?

That is a question I go back and forth on all the time.  In fact, I was just thinking that very same thought as I was driving to Grand Forks last night.  On the one hand, I could pour the grammar and lit theory on the kids and make it seem like a foreign language to my students.  I sure would be showing off all that I know in the area of grammar and lit theory.  It would be hard and my kids would suffer and struggle to learn.  Part of me feels strongly that I should be doing more of that.  Especially for my top end students (yes, I know I just used a sentence fragment there. It’s for emphasis.  See, I’m showing off my grammar and writing skills).  However, a larger part of me thinks that great teaching is taking the difficult and making it appear simple to one’s students.  I find myself striving to do that far more than I do the latter.  But I don’t know that what I’m doing now produces students who are resilient enough.

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