By not getting to know our students, we are disrespecting them.
This is the realization that hit me while reading Garnet Hillman’s blog, “My Journey of Change.” More specifically, after I read the following paragraph.“I was challenged to get to know my students on all levels. To plan my lessons for them instead of the curriculum pacing guides and quarterly assessments. To RESPECT them. … Over the first few years of my teaching career I had unknowingly disrespected my students. I had disrespected their individuality, their interests, their backgrounds, and more importantly their ability to contribute to my classroom.”
When we do not give students opportunities to express themselves, to demonstrate their individuality, we are disrespecting our students.
When we take center stage and make the classroom all about ourselves and everything WE want students to learn, we are disrespecting our students.
When we stifle creativity and create an environment where making mistakes is a bad thing, we are disrespecting our students.
Too often I think we get distracted by grading, standards, curriculum, and whatever else that we forget what makes school a school – the students. Before I had never associated things like stifling creativity and not letting students choose what they want to learn more about with disrespect. I knew those were bad practices, but not disrespectful. That has changed for me.
Now being real honest, I am still probably going to choose some things that I really want my students to learn about and think that they should learn about, but now I am way more open to the idea of student choice and inquiry-based learning. Because above all I want to create an environment that is safe for my students. I want a safe place where my students’ individuality is celebrated, where they express themselves, and a place where true learning takes place. I want to KNOW my students.