I was recently asked by a colleague, what my goals for my classes are. Not necessarily an unusual question, at least not for a teacher. I’m not sure why this time struck me as different, but the question really stayed with me. My answer could included grade distribution or test scores but that isn’t what teachers hear when asked these kinds of questions. The question we really hear is, “Why do you teach?”
To that question my answer is two-fold.
- I want my students to understand what is being said to them by politicians and the media. There is so much rhetoric thrown around so loosely. They appeal to our emotions in an effort to effect our behavior. But do we really understand what they’re saying? Can we evaluate the information we are given to determine if we agree or can support what is being said? If a mechanic came up to you in a parking lot and said, “Your car is broken.” Do you automatically handover your keys?
- I want them to have the tools to evaluate information and make decisions. As corny or cliche as it may sound, today’s students are tomorrow’s decision makers. I want them to have the tools to be the best versions of themselves. To weight information, search it out if necessary, then make a decision and stand by it.
One of my favorite quotes is from Gordon B. Hinckley, “Believe in yourselves, in your capacity to do something remarkable. The work of the world is done by ordinary people who have learned to work in an extraordinary way.”
We will each define extraordinary for ourselves. However, the tools we need are the same. We all need perseverance, hard work, and dedication. I want my students to have the tools they need to be extraordinary.
I hope that when my students leave my classroom they know I have confidence in them. I believe they can make their own informed decisions. I know they can learn from failure. I know they can be extraordinary in whatever form that takes for them.
This is my goal for my classes. This is why I teach.