I read a great blog post on challenging students. I really believe that our notion of placement in middle and high school seems to have progressively become skewed towards the easy. I say often in P/T Conferences that when a student struggles, pushes themselves, and grasps the concept in a developmentally appropriate way, they are placed in the right class. Straight A’s are not necessary, or always appropriate.
Information like that is often met with silent blinking. And sometimes crickets (once, an actual cricket that mocked me in my office for a week like some sort of investigative torture to break me).
Students so quickly ask to be dropped down in classes, and it makes me wonder: at what point did challenging students become a bad thing? I had always figured that true learning is occurring when there is some struggle. If a placement is easy for a student, perhaps they are placed below what they are capable of learning. Is this a result of standardized tests and pass-rate chasing, or the outlook that “everyone should get a trophy” so that failure does not deplete confidence?
Wow, I am getting deep so quickly after the big return.
For the record, my own 7th grader last year struggled in Algebra, and told me often how difficult the teacher/material/homework/class work/pencil sharpening/paper organization/and overall existing in that classroom was. She talked pretty confidently about dropping that year, or retaking it the next. All year. Everyday. Well, that was dramatic, it was every other day because their schedule alternated. Anywho, her Algebra’s year-end test ended up being her highest. Bam. Turns out the teacher was, well, teaching.