There used to be good teachers and bad teachers, and you could tell them apart by looking at their students.
When Jamie Escalante taught mathematics in South Central LA, every student passed, every year. Many passed the advanced placement calculus test as well. He delivered.
Other teachers in the same school, teaching the same students embraced the obstacles the environment presented, and they failed utterly.
See “Stand and Deliver” and watch a good teacher in action. He brooked no excuses. They did a good job of capturing his passion.
That was then….
These days we are led to believe that there are good students and bad students and you can tell them apart by their grades, disabilities, and disorders.
Unhampered, then, by any uncomfortable feelings of culpability, a teacher can now do a bad job, not do the job at all, because the parents, themselves the product of similar teachers, tend to listen to the teacher more than they listen to, or observe their kids!!
Kids lost all their credibility that way, and all attention shifted to “what’s wrong with the kid?”
This attitude has not panned out. We just have more fancy names for failing to deliver, more agreement that it is all hopeless, and a growing number of graduates who are ill prepared for life.
Let’s get back to “no excuses”. It may not be perfect, but it’s a good starting point.
Jamie Escalante didn’t have perfect students, some had to work harder than others, and he worked harder right along with them. He was committed to these kids, involved with them, he believed in them and he got them through. No excuses!
He didn’t see the student as the problem.