My suspicion: your initial answer would be a resounding "Yes!" And why wouldn't you say that? I think we teachers tend to create a classroom atmosphere most like the one we would love to have as a learner.
Here's the thing: usually we teachers are the ones who were "successful" in school. The kids who weren't successful at doing school...how likely is it that they would choose to spend their professional life there?
We were able to do school.
We were the ones who figured out how to play the game.
We were the ones who actually liked the game of school.
And, because we were the ones who were relatively "successful" playing the school game, we became teachers.
Do you ever think of it that way?
It makes me wonder if this means that it is a sort of a self-perpetuating cycle in schools. The kids who were best able to play the game of school become the next generation of "game masters" (teachers.) These teachers are then likely to "teach who they are," making school a good fit for the kids most like...them. Right?
I'm curious about what this means for kids less likely to be successful at playing the game:
- The ones who can't play the game, because of some learning disability, or
- The ones with a diagnosis of ADHD that makes it difficult to focus on the rules of the game, or
- The ones with situations outside of school that make playing the game seem foolish in comparison with the challenges of life, or
- The ones who are gifted enough to see the game for the...game...that it actually is, and opt out, or decide to play by their own rules.
How well does the game of school actually work out for these kids?
I think we need a better game.
Here's my challenge for you, teacher: put yourself in the shoes of a kid in your class. And play fair: pick the kid least like you. Because, c'mon...the kid most like you? S/he is probably going to be able to play the game just fine.
Put yourself in the shoes of the kid with a learning disability.
Put yourself in the shoes of the kid with ADHD.
Put yourself in the shoes of the kid with the amazingly difficult life situation outside of school.
Put yourself in the shoes of the kid identified as talented and gifted.
|Image by CollegeDegrees360 [CC BY-SA 2.0]|
When you think of the quality of the work you assign to the kiddos...would you want to do this work yourself, when you place yourself in their shoes? Would you be able to do the work?
And if not, what does that say about the work? What does this say about your approach to your classroom practice?
Would you want to be a student in your own class?