After reading Robert's post, I wondered what my teaching would be like if I taught like every student in my class was Tiffany. Far too often, I plan lessons that assume my students are bored, disengaged, and minimally capable. I work to fill every available gap, thinking (granted, often correctly) that my students will give up and shut down/fool around at the first sign of difficulty. I bounce around the room, I monitor their work like a hawk, I urge and cajole and try desperately to almost trick my students into thinking they want to be in English class.
How would my teaching be different if I assumed that students wanted to be there and wanted to learn? How would my teaching be different if I sent the message, implicitly and explicitly, that sometimes learning is hard and there is no way around but through? What if I worked to not close the gap, but rather raise the floor?
Would my administrators get it and support it? Would I be criticized if my passing rates fell or if students complained in the short term? And what would my students think? Would they shut down, assuming I was no longer interested in the strugglers--or would they be inspired to work harder?
I don't have answers to these questions, but I feel like this long weekend is a good time to think about it.
Confidential to our Jewish readers: L'shanah tovah!