Generating Genuine Student ExcitementPosted: September 7, 2011
My house has been bustling with energy this week. With my wife starting a new job as a high school band director at a school only nine miles from our house, myself starting a new teaching assignment, our house was rocking. However, most of the energy in our humble household was being expelled from our son who was amped up to start pre-school. Let me enlighten you how excited he was. Monday night during a three hour stretch he was up eleven times. All we could do as parents was direct him back to bed. We knew he was excited and we didn’t want to squash his enthusiasm.
As my wife and I waited for our son to get up again and walk into our bedroom, we talked about how remarkable it was that our so was excited. We discussed how students at his age generally liked attending school. I am sure it is because most of their day consists of playing, but my son still came home learning some letters for his name. My niece was a 2nd grader last year and she was still loving school. Needless to say, the conversation my wife and I were having was great. Then I asked a question that resulted in us hearing nothing but the tree frogs and crickets that resided outside of our window. I simply asked, “Why do students or kids in general lose that desire and excitement to attend school?” As we sat there, I broke the silence by following up with another question. “Is it our fault as educators?”. My wife and I both agreed that we didn’t think it was our fault as teachers… entirely.
So what does cause students to lose that excitement they once had as a pre-schooler or a kindergartner? Is it the simple fact they grow older, or is it lack of nurturing from parents. While talking to my niece a few weeks ago, I talked to her about entering school for the upcoming school year and to my surprise, she wasn’t looking forward to it at all. I asked why and she simply replied it was boring. Now, my niece is very bright, so is school too easy to the point it is boring? As a parent and a teacher, I know I will encourage my children to like school and make the most of it while they are there. However, will this be enough?
As I separate myself as a parent and go into my teacher role, I have to face the challenge of keeping my student’s attention every day. Yes, that means even the ones that seem impossible to reach. I really want to know what makes my students tick. I want the middle school students in my school to say I like going to language arts class. Which, if you are an English teacher, you know we already have that strike against us.
Anyways, I am interested in hearing what other teachers, parents, adults, etc. have to say about my thoughts today. I know I have a lot of questions, but I do think something can be done.
If my son has such a desire to go to school, I am sure there is something we can do to get more kids that are older genuinely ecstatic about learning. Thoughts?