Monday, November 27, 2006

Commitment and nags

As I've bragged (or should that be brogged? - a neat amalgamation of verbs) about the success of edublogs like Progress Report I think it's only fair to acknowledge that wildbanks has been a complete failure in terms of encouraging a student to work and progress. The joyous bit for me was that I felt able to tell the parents that they were wasting their money and my time and that we should cease trading forthwith - how often did I long for that freedom in my classroom days!

I often reflect on the discrepancy between parents' ambitions for their children and the inclination of said children to do anything to fulfil these ambitions - which the child may even profess for themselves. On the other hand, it was just great when one of the Progress Report bloggers came back sua sponte with an onslaught on her Higher work - for then I was reminded of the drive created to improve and succeed.

In the end, of course, it's all a matter of commitment. Some people reach that stage of maturity earlier than others; some people have wonderful nagging parents who sacrifice their own peaceful lives to keep up the pressure. That's what I had when I was at school, and I've never ceased to marvel at the way my father - a famous Glasgow English teacher in his day - helped me with physics while my mother would do the preliminary work on my Virgil translation because I had so much homework. I hope I in turn was able to carry on the noble tradition of nag-in-chief despite the temptation to do my own thing.....

2 comments:

  1. Chris,

    I've learnt a lot from reading Progress Report.

    But your wildbanks experience has also proved educational to me. I feel, as I go on in teaching I am beginning to get the balance between 'It must be me' and 'It must be them'. The pendulum doesn't swing so wildly from one response to another, when a class goes badly.
    I think that you can improve as a teacher with hard work and reflection, but you cannot always motivate every student.

    Years ago a teacher told me that she had come to accept she would not always be the best teacher for every one of her pupils. At the time I thought it sounded a bit like letting yourself off the hook.

    Now I am coming to realise that there was wisdom in it. Certain students don't respond, for reasons that may not be apparent at the time.

    Disappointing, but true.

    Never mind, where one door closes another opens...

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  2. And there are always distractions ... hormones ...you know the sort of thing!

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