Prophecies for the New YearBy Bill Page
Long ago I learned the futility of making New Year resolutions, but I am pleased to proffer some pretty certain classroom prophesies for the 2012, “back-to-school,” new, calendar year.
I predict that…
A. Problem learners of last semester will not, this semester, improve their behavior, their desire to learn, or their study habits much less have a miraculous reversal or change in attitude.
B. Having spent the first term establishing relationships with kids in their classes, teachers will continue having an even greater struggle with the same at-risk kids this new term.
C. Any changes in the district level policies, standardized testing demands, state and federal laws, school budgets, or school procedures will be for the worse, not for improvement.
D. Having “studied” their teachers’ behavior for a half year, kids know teachers’ values, attitude, habits, expectations, modus operandi, and idiosyncrasies. Relationships are entrenched; kids know teachers’ aspirations and exasperations.
E. Teachers most reasonable choices, now, are to continue kids’ lame-duck tenure down the slippery slope to year-end failure. Or, take action to create an inviting new semester with a refreshing restart instead of a continuation with predictable results.
F. Students, who failed to learn, caused trouble, lived up to their bad reputation, and know how to press teachers’ buttons will be back with a vengeance for four and a half months.
G. And the “Beat Goes On!” You may be primed for a fresh, new, restart, but the reluctant learners will continue their downward spiral with new flourish.
A Fresh, Hopeful, New Start
Behind these realistic but pessimistic prophesies lurks the potential for a fresh, hopeful, new re-start. The kids don’t know how to change the dire circumstances they’re in and are probably more comfortable in the established relationship, no matter how unproductive,destructive, or troublesome. But, teachers can change teaching procedures, classroom conditions, and provide strategies, possibilities, and bold new ideas. Here are some attention-getting suggestions for moving toward a reprieve and a practical chance for success for everyone. [continued on next page]