My first mistake was thinking my kids would agree with me about professional growth in education. For some naive reason, I approached my discussion with the class like this, "Guys, I'm going to write about how teachers grow in their fields. What do you think?" Big mistake! What ensued after my question was both alarming and eye opening. Overwhelmed by the startling revelation that kids actually notice (and care) when we try new things, I began to frantically jot down notes while my first period students rattled off their pet peeves with educators. Although I was a little taken aback by their honesty, I have to admit students often see things clearly while we wear our "expert" goggles. I NEVER want to fall into one of these categories.
Pet Peeve #1: Some teachers do not consider students' views.
This premise is the age-old dilemma of the generational gap. After questioning the kids about this pet peeve, I soon realized an easy solution to this problem -- wise up about the generation you are teaching. Know the music they are listening to. Try watching shows they are talking about. One girl even stated, "Some of you guys just don't know what we care about." Ouch!
Pet Peeve #2: Some teachers are scared to try new things.
Well, well, well. Looks like our students can smell our fear. I have always wondered, but now I know for certain. When fear traps you from trying to branch out in the classroom, remember to model courage. We are continually asking kids to step out of their comfort zones . . . are we?
Pet Peeve #3: Some teachers are stuck in the old ways of doing things.
To be honest, this one hurts a little. I like some of the "old" ways for learning. Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned note taking? Why is the old method for research wrong? When the kids were listing ways we dinosaurs fail to grow as educators, they began to win me over. I get it! They want to see us venture out into technology. Students think it is cool to be on the cutting edge of learning. I guess one way to grow in this area is to maybe read a blog post that helps you consider a growth mindset (hint, hint).
Pet Peeve #4: Some teachers are just rotten like the saying, "A few apples spoil the bunch"
Oh dear. There is nothing worse than a misplaced educator, whether an administrator or classroom teacher. It is just sad to see an educator in the wrong career. One student laughingly said, "Yeah, Mrs. Barrett, you know the ones that hate kids and don't do stuff in class." Whoa. To tell the truth, this lackadaisical attitude offends me. My advice on this one? Try something new.
So there you have it. Kids really do notice and care about what we do in the classroom. I wonder, what do you think? Could my students be on to something? Could one of the above pet peeves be a cause of the lack of respect for education in our country?