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I Just Want To Be Average

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Category: English

Autor: anton 22 December 2010

Words: 752 | Pages: 4

“Students will float to the mark you set.”

A monotonous teacher will do nothing for a students education. The disillusioned teacher will never motivate a student. Teachers have made a nonverbal promise to the students just by showing up that they will do anything in their power to teach them and make sure they comprehend the lesson. Although students are responsible for doing the assigned work and finding ways to understand what they are being taught, teachers with higher standards will receive better work.

In the Mike Rose essay “I Just Wanna be Average” he states “students will float to the mark you set” (318) It is clear in Mike Rose’s essay that the Vocational Track housed the more unruly and unmotivated students. The question was why had these students decided to not put effort into their schoolwork? For the answer, look to their teachers. From their first bad grade, to their lack of understanding of the lesson, their teachers labeled them. Instead of providing extra help, the teachers added to their frustration by becoming disillusioned to the point where they [the students] just stopped caring. They began to believe what they had been told, which is that they were dumb, unteachable and who put it there? Their teachers. In Rose’s essay, Ken Harvey says he just wants to be average. He believes himself to be below average, and once someone is told enough times they are dumb or just don’t expect much from them, they start to believe and do work at that level.

Of course students are responsible for their own education, and should put forth their best effort in all assignments. If they do not understand something it is up to them to make the teacher aware and to receive extra help. It is up to the teacher however, to explain the lessons as clear as possible. They have to take into consideration the age of the students and appeal to their interests with lessons they can relate to. Such as in the movie Dangerous Minds, the students refused to pay attention to the previous teacher. When Louanne, the new teacher arrived, she realized she had to appeal to their interests. She has their attention when she writes “We choose to die” on the board. Soon she begins poetry with them, offering rewards and after that she just expects a lot from them. She uses motivation and high expectations, making the kids realize that they are not dumb after all. A teachers authority in a classroom should not be absolute but open to suggestions. A dictatorship never works. Louanne kept a fairly open classroom, so that as soon as the students knew she respected them, they respected her authority as well. They were no longer trouble makers as they had been before.

Teachers who expect the worst from students, will receive the worst from them. They have low expectations of them probably because of a reputation they have. The attitude they express towards these students will be felt and the student will feel as though they do not have to do any work because of the teacher pays no heed, they don’t care. Students need motivation. Without it, they could care less. Sure many would attempt to learn by themselves and some would probably succeed, for the majority however, they need clarifications and breaking down step by step to come to a solution for the textbook is sometimes very blunt and does always demonstrate steps clearly. In a study known as the Pygmalion study, done in 1968, students were placed in a classroom and the teacher was told they were all highly gifted students when in fact it was just a random selection of children with different achievement levels. The teachers therefore expected more from them. After the study was concluded, the children were retested. The results showed that the kids scored significantly better than before.

The responsibility of an individuals education falls not only on the teacher but on the individual as well. The teacher is relied on to motivate the student and have lectures that captivate the attention of the class. They should also have moderately high expectations, for when students realize that others concern themselves for their schooling, they will begin to care as well.

Works Cited

Cotton, Kathleen. “Expectations and Student Outcomes.” NW Archives. 31.Aug.2001

Dangerous Minds. Dir. John N. Smith. Perf. Michelle Pfeiffer, George Dzundza, George Grandey.

Buena Vista, 1995

Rose, Mike. “I Just Wanna be Average.” 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. Ed. Samuel Cohen.

New York: Boston, 2004. 317-329

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