Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Raising the Bar

I have been thinking a lot more about the year with my students in school. My vision for them is to leave them with a sense of independence so that they can drive their own actions everyday to become better people, regardless of how good or how bad their next teacher is. I want them to be people who go to a college, work honestly and contribute to their family, community and country. I want them to be people who are critical thinkers and strong speakers who can differentiate between right and wrong. I want them to be open to new ideas, culture and people.

I started on the right note - setting clear norms in the classroom and creating a common language among the kids. I can see the difference in the class with things being much better than they were this year - both in terms of lessons and in terms of classroom culture. However, being better is not enough. My children have to be excellent.

For being excellent, I have to change the tone from one that is negative to one that is positive. I have to change the culture from being reward and consequence driven to one that is self driven. My children should start doing things because they believe it is the right thing to do - not because of the fear of consequences or the love of rewards or recognition. My children should do things for the love of learning - learning that will help them walk on new paths and move to a world that is full of opportunities. For this, my children need to be consistently managed, but at the same time, they also need to be deeply invested.

I am fairly clear about what next steps I will take to move a step closer towards excellence. That is my own journey. While I know the path they must walk upon and I can show it to them, I cannot force them to walk on it. No outside force can lead to lasting change. Only small steps taken by their own choices can make change meaningful and permanent. While I know what they need to do, they need to tell me how they want to do it.

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