Think

What Teachers Owe Their Students

By Kayla Vinson

A recent situation with one of my student’s parent’s really got me thinking about an important question: What do teachers owe their students.

Here’s my answer:

I do not give out grades. My students earn them. And I don’t owe any student an A, or any grade for that matter. What I do owe them is a realistic assessment of their work so that they can continue to push themselves further and further. I owe them opportunities to engage in deeply important issues to develop critical thinking skills and a social consciousness that will serve them throughout their lives. I owe them increased, access, opportunity, and personal growth. I owe them a love and concern for their well-being that is so great that I refuse to give them a grade they have not not earned because they deserves to know what the benefits of hard work and real learning feel like. I owe them multiple opportunities to come to know themselves and the world better as a result of being in my class. I owe them preparation for the rest of their life. I owe them a deeper concern with the quality of the last 7 decades of their life than with their enjoyment and sense of ease in the four years of high school. I owe them satisfaction with the ability of their education to serve them throughout their lives.

Too often in education, adults get caught up in doing what helps us sleep at night. Under No Child Left Behind, adults in schools have become so obsessed with high grades and passing test scores, even if this means making the tests and assignments so easy that they do not challenge students. But if we really care about our students and our children as deeply as we profess to, then our first obligation must be to them, not to ourselves. High grades are not an end. They are a byproduct of real, deep, meaningful learning, and unless we are unmoved in that being the case, we are not serving our students well. If we were more concerned about students becoming critical thinkers, knowing more about the historical events/people/issues of the past, valuing themselves and others, valuing the pursuit and equitable use of knowledge, and change agents committed to social justice, we wouldn’t have to worry about their grades. The A’s and the B’s would come as byproducts of real learning. But if we focus on the grades, there is no guarantee that real learning will accompany them. And then, what have we given students? False hope? A belief in an open pathway to a future that is really marred with obstacles and challenges? A false sense of failure and lack of self worth when the lies we’ve sold them can’t buy their way out of their lived reality?

If you tell students that they’re ready when they aren’t, you do the greatest disservice possible to students who already have the cards stacked against them. I understand that so many people want to spare youth the trials and tribulations of adulthood, but I think that the idea that children should not be burdened with the inequalities and unfairness of the world is a middle class privilege that we can’t afford to keep selling to low-income kids. So much of the sorting and access to power in American society is decided in the first 18 years of life. Whether you go to college matters. Whether you get postsecondary training for whatever your goals are matters. What college you go to matters. Whether you know all the options available to you matters. And students from historically disadvantaged communities deserve to know that. It is too late to tell them when they’re 18 and supposedly ready for the realities of adulthood. By then, in many cases, so many pathways have already closed.

In the battle for increased access, increased opportunity, and social mobility, we must arm low-income youth with weapons of truth. Instead of offering them 18 years of “innocence”, why not prepare them to live 70 years of fulfillment? In order to do that, they will have to work twice as hard and play half as much as wealthier children. Not expecting them to do that does not change this reality. Instead, it sets children up for even more difficult adulthoods devoid of the knowledge and skills that are crucial to their ability to deconstruct the societal and structural constraints that silence their voices, ignore their needs, devalue their potential, and limit their agency.

That’s what I owe my students. The truth about the ways thing are. And the knowledge and skills to change it.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. lenoramagee

    January 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Right on!! Kayla I’m kind tearing up over hear. You spoke my mind. Thank you

Go ahead, boo. Tell us what you think.

To Top
ARE YOU READY? GET IT NOW!
Increase more than 500% of Email Subscribers!
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER
Turpis dis amet adipiscing hac montes odio ac velit? Porta, non rhoncus vut, vel, et adipiscing magna pulvinar adipiscing est adipiscing urna. Dignissim rhoncus scelerisque pulvinar?
GET IT NOW
500% MORE SUBSCRIBERS
EFFICIENCY
BOOST YOUR SALES
CREATIVITY
INSPIRE YOUR VISITORS
BE UNIQUE
CREATE UNIQUE POPUPS
READY TO BUILD YOUR EMPIRE LIKE A BAUCE?
Sorry, we only roll with all-stars.
Sign up for our free newsletter to get the motivation and resources you need to become a self-made woman. We put you on to the best info out there. For real.
Your Information will never be shared with any third party. Promise.
SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER
All rights reserved © Company Name, 2014
Dolor aliquet augue augue sit magnis, magna aenean aenean et! Et tempor, facilisis cursus turpis tempor odio, cursus montes ac turpis. Ultrices! Massa integer augue ridiculus adipiscing, massa cras pid. Turpis placerat scelerisque, vut odio mus non, mattis porttitor, nunc odio, turpis tortor sit? Pid amet, sed facilisis.
  • Goblinus globalus fantumo tandempo
  • Scelerisque cursus dignissim donus
  • Montes vutario lacus quis arcupolisio
  • Leftomato denitro oculus tepircos den
  • Spiratio dodenus christmas popupius
  • Afrenius globalus spiritum tandempo
  • Fitatos vutario lacus quis arcup delis
Do you want massive traffic?
Dignissim enim porta aliquam nisi pellentesque. Pulvinar rhoncus magnis turpis sit odio pid pulvinar mattis integer aliquam!
  • Goblinus globalus fantumo tubus dia montes
  • Scelerisque cursus dignissim lopatico vutario
  • Montes vutario lacus quis preambul den lacus
  • Leftomato denitro oculus softam lorum quis
  • Spiratio dodenus christmas gulleria tix digit
  • Dualo fitemus lacus quis preambul pat turtulis
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
Do you want more traffic?
Dignissim enim porta aliquam nisi pellentesque. Pulvinar rhoncus magnis turpis sit odio pid pulvinar mattis integer aliquam!
  • Goblinus globalus fantumo tubus dia montes
  • Scelerisque cursus dignissim lopatico vutario
  • Montes vutario lacus quis preambul den lacus
  • Leftomato denitro oculus softam lorum quis
  • Spiratio dodenus christmas gulleria tix digit
  • Dualo fitemus lacus quis preambul pat turtulis
  • Scelerisque cursus dignissim lopatico vutario
  • Montes vutario lacus quis preambul den lacus
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER AND START INCREASING YOUR PROFITS NOW!
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
Do you want massive traffic?
Scelerisque augue ac hac, aliquet, nascetur turpis. Augue diam phasellus odio lorem integer, aliquam aliquam sociis nisi adipiscing hacac.
  • Goblinus globalus fantumo tubus dia
  • Scelerisque cursus dignissim lopatico
  • Montes vutario lacus quis preambul
  • Leftomato denitro oculus softam lorum
  • Spiratio dodenus christmas gulleria tix
  • Dualo fitemus lacus quis preambul bela
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHA6Ly93d3cueW91dHViZS5jb20vZW1iZWQvajhsU2NITzJtTTAiIGZyYW1lYm9yZGVyPSIwIiBhbGxvd2Z1bGxzY3JlZW4+PC9pZnJhbWU+
* we never share your details with third parties.
ARE YOU READY? GET IT NOW!
Increase more than 500% of Email Subscribers!
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
WANT TO LEARN THE SECRETS TO MAKING MORE MONEY?
Sorry, we only roll with all-stars.
Join our mailing list to get access to weekly money-making tips and motivational messages, and key resources that will transform you into a self-made woman.
Your Information will never be shared with any third party. Promise.
The Mockup World.
This is Photoshop's version of Lorem Ipsum. Proin gravida nibh vel velit auctor aliquet. Aenean sollicitudin, lorem quis bibendum auctor, nisi elit consequat ipsum.
2017 (C) All rights reserved.
JOIN OUR CREW.*
BAUCE is a lifestyle site for self-made women. Join our mailing list for weekly emails that will help you boost your income, motivate you, and transform your life.