The teaching phrase I cannot stand

The teaching phrase I cannot stand and what I'm doing about it.

It’s a common phrase many teachers have heard time and time again: never care more about a student’s grade than they do. I first heard this phrase during my credential program. I heard this phrase from multiple teachers during my first few years in the classroom. I am still hearing this phrase today. And you know what? I am tired of hearing this phrase because I could not disagree more. And let me tell you, if I hear that phrase one more time...

We are the adults in the classroom. We are their teachers. We are the ones who are supposed to be giving them a solid foundation in which to succeed. We need to care, and I will even say that we should care more than they do.

The first reason why we as educators should care more about their grades and performance in our classroom than they do is because they are just kids. True, I teach high school, but they are still just babies in the world. Our students lack the hindsight, foresight, and experience that we have, and sometimes they need that extra, constant push to keep trying to do their best. Our students might not be able to internalize the true value of education yet, and I don’t believe it is in their best interest for us to just give up on them.

The second reason why we as educators should care more about their grades and performance in our classroom than they do is because we might just be their biggest support system when it comes to education. I teach in an economically disadvantaged area. Many of my students come from broken homes, may not eat until the next school day, and have to deal with real-world problems that many adults never even have to think about encountering. I always want my students to know that I not only care about them, but that I also care about their future and their performance in my classroom. To show this, I make an effort to celebrate little victories -even unmeasurable victories like a student putting forth some extra effort. Sometimes our students who struggle the most just need to know that we are on their side cheering for them and that we are there to help them succeed.

What do you do to show your students that you genuinely care about them, their grades, and their future?

7 comments:

  1. I believe it's our job to show students what it means to care about something. I've had students tell me my class is hard, but they like it because they know they are learning. I asked them once what made my class "hard" or different from others, and you know what they said? They said, "Because you take your job so seriously and you care." What about that?!?
    ~Julie

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    1. That's absolutely amazing, Julie! Many students don't like the "hard" classes while they are in them, but they appreciate everything after it's said and done.

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  2. Your post resonated with me as I have always said to my students "I will "care" enough for both of us until you "care" enough for yourself." Keep the posts coming...I enjoy your blog.

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    1. Thank you so much, Jo. I love your take on this. It's inspirational!

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  3. I teach middle school seventh graders, and after teaching 15 years, my pithy saying is that these kids don't have enough yesterdays to inform them about tomorrow. That being said, it is always so important for us to care about all sorts of things in kids' lives. (I too taught in a 75% free lunch/urban area and could tell stories that would turn your hair white.) I would like to add that we must also care about our teachers. Teachers who say these things may also be feeling stressed, unimportant, like they have little autonomy or relevance etc. Etc. Etc. So, my proposal is to surround yourself with problem solving folks, who complain little for complaints' sake. To listen to folks and support them. To fight surrounding ourselves with cruddy, fatty comfort foods and provide real comfort, instead. Notice when a teacher does great things and handwrite a note to put in their box. If the caretakers and teachers of the world are empty, how can they truly help the students of the world?

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  4. I teach middle school seventh graders, and after teaching 15 years, my pithy saying is that these kids don't have enough yesterdays to inform them about tomorrow. That being said, it is always so important for us to care about all sorts of things in kids' lives. (I too taught in a 75% free lunch/urban area and could tell stories that would turn your hair white.) I would like to add that we must also care about our teachers. Teachers who say these things may also be feeling stressed, unimportant, like they have little autonomy or relevance etc. Etc. Etc. So, my proposal is to surround yourself with problem solving folks, who complain little for complaints' sake. To listen to folks and support them. To fight surrounding ourselves with cruddy, fatty comfort foods and provide real comfort, instead. Notice when a teacher does great things and handwrite a note to put in their box. If the caretakers and teachers of the world are empty, how can they truly help the students of the world?

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  5. I've always heard the saying as "Don't work harder for the grade than the student does." I am a special education teacher, and when we have to write or scaffold curriculum, we have to be sure that the student is working, not just the teacher.
    Your thoughts?

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