Rigor. Perseverance. Determination. “I think I can, I think I can.” I wonder where these important life skills have gone with my students? I often feel like I am working harder than they are. I’ve had conversations with several colleagues, parents, and friends about the lack of “I can” attitude.
I wish I knew the answer. I occasionally see a glimmer of these important attributes in my class; however, never consistent. I have wondered if there is a huge desire for this age group for an immediate reward? The student completes their task even if it isn’t at the level of expectation, but at least it is complete. I even have had awkward parent conferences where I have mentioned this lack of motivation and often I hear in response, “We feel the same way.” That’s a red flag for me and with so many years of experience, I don’t sugar coat the rest of the conference as we discuss the issue.
Enter my OLW for 2015: perspective. “A way of thinking about and understanding something (such as a particular issue" I have been thinking intently about these or lack of these character traits. But I haven’t been “understanding.” I never realized my OLW is like a coin: heads (thinking) tails (understanding).
Enter understanding. Over the past several months, I notice some common characteristics about my students:
· Most of them are totally overscheduled and can’t figure out when to do their homework, read a book or relax and play outside.
· Most of them are attached at the hip to some electronic device. Although this year, I am excited to see Kindles and iPads being used for reading.
· Some of them are not sure what to do in their free time when they have free time. When we do our weekend share every Monday, most of the time I hear about their sporting events. Occasionally girl scouts/boy scouts.
Which brings me back to Rigor. Perseverance. Determination. “I think I can, I think I can.” Most successes have been when I model them. I teach them. I share books about them. I ask them to apply them. What I understand now is I need to focus on these traits in order to help my students become problem solvers, cooperative learners, and strong young citizens.