Monday, October 20, 2014

Time For Some Empathy!

It's time for teachers to have a little empathy for their students.

Webster defines empathy "the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings."  

A few things happened last week that made me realize it was time for teachers to have some empathy for their students.  First, after talking to my two daughters, 6th and 11th grade, about their homework and overall school work load.  My oldest daughter asked me "daddy why do all the teachers have to give their test on the same day?" This happened on the same day a teacher complained about having to go to a PD session two days in a row.  I read a couple of articles that reinforced my thinking;  one from Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post  "Homework: An unnecessary evil? ... Surprising findings from new research" showing how little impact homework had on achievement.  Then there was an infographic "What's It Like to Be a Student Today?  from the National Education Association.  This inforgraphic has some interesting data.  What struck me was 82.7% of students 12-17 participate in one or more organized activities outside of school.  But the article that really made me think was by Grant Wiggins, "What I Learned By Doing What I Ask Students To Do".  This article gives great insight into what it's like to be a student in todays classrooms.  Every teacher should have to read this article and honestly refelct about their teaching practices.  

My question for teachers; "Would you want to be a student in your class?"  

It's time to have some empathy for students.  Remember your homework is not the only homework given.  Your test is not the only test given on a Friday. And school is not the only thing students are involved with.     

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