“Students will rise to the level of expectations” ~Jamie Escalante
Have you ever seen the movie Stand and Deliver? If not, it’s worth the time to watch. The first time I saw this movie was in my second education course at Mount Royal University. Jamie Escalante teaches english language learners in a low socioeconomic status; the students few people expect to succeed. Mr. Escalante is not willing to make excuses for these kids, or let them make their own. His message is powerful, “students will rise to the level of expectations”.
Do you believe this to be true?
I think that as teachers it’s extremely important that we challenge our students, push them to new levels and ultimately show them the infinite levels they are able to reach. The key here? Someone needs to believe in them. I joke, that’s not enough. Someone needs to show the child that they believe in them. To tell a student, “I believe in you”, why should they buy that? We need to show them. At this point, they will begin to believe in themselves and reach new heights.
As a teacher, there is a reputation that I would love to have:
- tough, but fair
- compassionate for each student who steps foot in my room
- fosters an environment of respect
- instills passion in students for learning
By rating our students, what are we telling them? Why do we compare them to one another through letters and numbers? Each day we need to celebrate the learning of each and every student on an individual basis. Recognize them as their own person, push them to attain new levels, which are tailored to them and their own learning.
Each student is climbing the same mountain, but their path to get their may be (or will likely be) entirely different. Pick them up when they fall, advocate for them when they need it, support/guide them on their journey to the top (which is entirely different than holding their hand the entire way), be their biggest fan. If we can do this in our classroom each and everyday, I believe our students will not only rise to our expectations, but will surpass them.
Until next time,