I think the funniest jokes are funny because they have a grain of truth within them.
In class the other day, I made a joke. I don't know if it was very funny, honestly, but one of my students thought it was funny enough to tweet it:
Okay...not the best joke ever, right? (Clearly, Dave...)
But is there a grain of truth in there?
How many times have you heard, "You can do anything you put your mind to!" or "You can be anything you want to be if you just work hard enough!"
While they sound nice and positive and encouraging, I think these are dangerous sentiments. It's not that I don't want to be nice and positive and encouraging--I think I am all of these things, for the most part--but rather that this is a lie.
Frankly, while students have many opportunities to learn and grow and develop, I'm just not sure this is true. Can they really "be anything" or "do anything" they want to? I will reserve the right to change my mind, but right now I'm thinking this might just be the biggest lie we tell students.
What do you think? Are we setting kids up for failure by telling them this? Or is this a good way challenge them to rise above the tide of mediocrity? I hope you'll weigh in and help shape my thinking about this!