Learning About Hard Work

Learning About Hard Work
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Many people don't know that my daughter is attending the same elementary school that I attended. When I drop her off, pick her up and look over the homework every night, I am frequently filled with different emotions. Feelings of pride and nostalgia mostly...

My favorite subject in school was science. My favorite teacher was Ms. Geraldine O'Brien. She was the teacher the majority of the students feared... she was very strict. She was academically tough. She wanted precision, neatness... she was sort of a "science drill sergeant" if you will... Recently, while speaking to my daughter's current science teacher, I mentioned Ms. O'Brien and  Kate's teacher presented me with this treasure.... Ms. O'Brien's science notes from the 80's. This was my science curriculum in 1984.

Ms. O'Brien's hand labeled diagram. Her penmanship was so precise... she would frequently fill up entire chalk boards with meticulous science lessons for us to copy and memorize.

Ms. O'Brien's hand labeled diagram. Her penmanship was so precise... she would frequently fill up entire chalk boards with meticulous science lessons for us to copy and memorize.

This worn stack of papers got me thinking. What qualities in a teacher evoke happy feelings from a student and vice versa? I don't remember Ms. O'Brien as being someone who made you feel warm and fuzzy by any means.... I don't remember her going above and beyond to make me feel welcome and happy in class, and I don't remember her speaking to my parents about my grades. I remember the fight for good grades in Science...and the fear of what might happen to me if I messed up. I remember the feeling of accomplishment when I graduated...that I really did something.

These days parents complain anytime their teacher's tone dips below that of a Disney Princess. Parents switch schools without allowing their kids to experience hardships.. there seems to be a sense of entitlement that comes along with "paying" for school rather than a sense of achievement for completing something difficult... and if we did this...and if I precisely remember the lesson plans of the 1970's and 80's being much more difficult than they are today... then what the heck are we teaching our kids about accomplishment and hard work now? 

If your teacher is easy...and never gives you constructive criticisms... are you really learning anything?

I would love to hear what you think about this.