Whatever happened to hard work?
Why am I surprised? I guess I am old fashioned. I still believe in work. What ever happened to the idea that self worth is in direct proportion to energy expended? I must be from another planet, because I still believe it.
Being a teacher in today’s world is exasperating. There is so much talk about building kids’ self esteem. This in itself is not a problem. It is how it is proposed we accomplish this noble goal that threatens the mettle of the chalk wielding set.
If Susie is unable to read, we can work with that. That is what we do. Some of us even believe that Susie’s learning to read will boost her view of herself. That still makes sense to me.
What do you do, however, if Susie is not willing to put out any effort to learn? Trendy school administrators are encouraging, nay requiring, that educators become psychologists, social workers, and even lion tamers in the classroom. You know what – even that is not exasperating. More troublesome is when they insist that I perform a song and dance to get students “motivated” that grates against my experience and common sense.
If I have to do that much just to get my students interested, what will I have to do once they are hooked? You guessed it. The onus is on the teacher rather than the student. How can we teach it if there is no light in the eyes? True education requires the full participation of the learner.
We are at decision time in education. It has to be okay to hold the student accountable to read the text for a class. We must assign homework that we expect students to accomplish. Our charges will endeavor to make connections between what they read and what they observe. Educators, we have to demand that students get serious about the job of learning.
What is the message we are giving our youth if we do not hold the line? Where is the world for which we are preparing them to be successful? No college I know of will tolerate a student not reading the required texts. Where is there an employer that will excuse irresponsibility and lack of initiative? There is no world out there to match the type of training we are giving our children. That is the painful reality, but it is in our power to turn this around.
We feel good when we weed a garden, create burgeoning piles of the unwanted growth, and revel in the exposed earth yearning for some good seed. Even little children feel good to work hard and bask in the accomplishment. We must commit to nurture that natural instinct to do a job well.
Educators and parents of America, we must hold the line. Give our future leaders what they must have to succeed. Give them work and expect them to do it. Let them build their view of themselves through the sweat of their own brows, rather than through the ethereal cajoling of the song and dance teacher.