Saturday, September 24, 2011

Must write

Comments. Must write five sentences (at least) about every single student I teach. How many different ways are there to write, "I'm unimpressed"? Just kidding; many students are actually quite good, but comment-writing always brings out my inner bitch.
Anyway, here's one way I'm procrastinating: Great piece in the New York Times Magazine called "What if the Secret to Success is Failure?" It's the perfect length to forget all about unwritten comments. And the headline alone gives me an idea for my next comment: If the secret to success is failure, then your son is well on his way.

In the article, an educator looked at former students and found that "only 33 percent of students who graduated from [his] middle school 10 or more years ago have graduated from a four-year college. That rate is considerably better than the 8 percent of children from low-income families who currently complete college nationwide, and it even beats the average national rate of college completion for all income groups, which is 31 percent."

However, "he noticed something curious: the students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically at KIPP; they were the ones with exceptional character strengths, like optimism and persistence and social intelligence. They were the ones who were able to recover from a bad grade and resolve to do better next time; to bounce back from a fight with their parents; to resist the urge to go out to the movies and stay home and study instead; to persuade professors to give them extra help after class."

So ...
What to teach? And when? Can "exceptional character strengths" be taught?

Maybe I should finish reading the Times piece to find out. And then start on those damn comments. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr P, I'm avoiding you on PTC day.

You know, Randolph "encourages his teachers to limit the homework they assign" ......

I'm kidding. Seriously, though, I'm terrified that you're going to decide to give an assignment that you'll hand out all F's for to 'build our characters.'
........Please don't.

- PD