Sunday, November 16, 2014

Middle School Mayhem Part 3: Hedge Your Bet

Sometimes I think we forget we are teaching KIDS. Teachers look at the amount of content they must cover, testing standards that are RIDICULOUS at best, and an observation system that is flawed by design and we panic. We create the same insane standards for our kids that we have thrown upon us by those making educational decisions.

Vast majorities of Middle School Kids will shut down when they feel stress and failure. They are already dealing with hormonal changes and social pressures, and the addition of schoolwork failures causes a system overload. It is easy to spot when this overload occurs. It is the student that suddenly becomes the discipline problem, or the kid that refuses to do any work, or the kid that starts missing school.

Teachers create these phenomenal lesson plans that are encompassed within even greater projects, and often we forget that we are teaching kids, not standards. When we realize students are jumping ship, we need to stop and regroup. Within that fantastic lesson and award winning project, we must foster activities that will make ALL students feel successful. It is called hedging your bet, and it means that you are giving a little in order to gain all of the rewards at the end.

We all need to feel successful throughout our journey through life's obstacles. Students place as much emphasis on their grade as we do on their test scores. What might seem like giving grades by actually counting an activity that everyone makes 100% might just be the life preserver that keeps one of your students afloat. Help your students cross the finish goal by giving them some sustenance along the path.

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