#SOL17 Day 27
The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. ~ Socrates
I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about tonight, but then my son sent me this picture.
At least once a week you can be sure to hear someone in school bring up the subject of how kids have changed. The kids are not invested in their education. They want you to tell them exactly what will be on the test. They follow a rubric but can’t think outside the box. They are not problem solvers. I have to admit that on occasion I have been guilty of joining in and agreeing with the conversation.
After reading this quote by South Carolina head basketball coach, Frank Martin, I am second guessing my complaining. He has gotten his number 8 seeded team to the NCAA Final Four after knocking off number 2 seeded Duke, number 3 seeded Baylor, and number 4 seeded Florida. I am certain that it is due to hard work and commitment, not players making excuses for why they missed practice or didn’t complete all their practice drills. I am confident that excuses are not tolerated, and players who do not show dedication are not team members for long.
I think as parents we want our kids’ lives to be easier than ours, although I really don’t think my life was that hard. My parents expected things of me, and if I didn’t produce there were consequences. They didn’t expect outrageous things. They expected that I do my best in school, completed my homework, and that was with very little help from them. They expected that I complete my chores at home because that’s what being part of a family was all about – doing your fair share.
I remember one year in elementary school when my grades dropped from all 90s to almost all 80s from one quarter to the next. I was grounded for a month. A MONTH! That was back in the days when we actually went outside to play after school. We didn’t have air conditioning, so the windows were open, and I could hear and see all my friends playing without me. When I complained to my mother that it wasn’t fair that I was grounded when my younger brother got 80s all the time and he wasn’t in trouble, she calmly told me that 80s were the best my brother could do but they were not the best that I could do. I was paying the price for slacking off.
I think that I expected a lot from my own children, although I know that on more than one occasion I bailed them out of some situation where my husband thought I should have let them sink. They both strove to do their best and made mistakes like any kid, but they were hard workers. Now as adults they still expect a great deal of themselves. They are their own hardest critics. My husband and I did our best to instill a solid work ethic in them, and I think we were pretty successful.
Back to complaints at school…..
As teachers do we expect less from our students? Are we making things too easy for them because in some way it makes it easier on us? Not all parents are willing to let their kids take the fall for not doing their best, and that’s a shame. However, are we as teachers afraid to push students because we may get push back from parents? Does our test-driven society prevent us from teaching kids what is really important in life. Skills that go way beyond curriculum?
I don’t have the answers, but I do know that I will be looking more carefully at my expectations. I want to be sure that I am preparing students for life not just for the next grade. Evidently this isn’t anything new. After all, Socrates complained about children!