The Only One

Do you ever have those days when your students seem to work really well independently, the class runs smoothly, and all seems well until something blows up in your face? That would have been my day.

I was handed a note from a student that read more of an essay about how bad of a teacher I was. That’s how I have to end my day, really? In this note, the parent said that I had way too high of expectations of my students. They’re just kids after all. I need to let them be kids and not speak to them so rudely when they behave otherwise.

I have tried my hardest to not let this little dagger pierce an important artery because it’s not worth it. I have done several hours worth of reflecting on my own practices in the classroom and where I went wrong in the eyes of this parent. I could blame the parent for their own problems in parenting. Or I could use this to learn. I choose the latter.

I work in an urban school with a very high ELL population. My students come from varying backgrounds with parents that are barely out of their teens, in jail, single-parent households with the other parent in another country, and a list that goes on. They come to me with no idea of discipline or boundaries. My students are capable human beings that can do a lot more than many people (even those in my own building) give them credit for. But, that comes with high standards. What is wrong with expecting your students to excel? What is wrong with asking your students to ask questions, immerse themselves in projects, become passionate about new things, and meet all the standards along the way? I do expect a lot of my students because I know they can.

I will stand by my high standards and expect the best out of my students’ work and behavior. Why? Because I might be the only one who ever does.


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