As a teacher, it would be really easy to resign yourself to defeat when students don’t follow directions or meet your expectations. Those of us in education have all been there. You grade a round of assignments or exams that leave you feeling befuddled and exasperated. At times like that, I think we really need to guard against adopting a cynical attitude about student capabilities. Yes, we’re frustrated, but that doesn’t mean our efforts are devoid of meaning or that we haven’t positively influenced anyone. I think that during the most difficult of times we must reflect on how we approach our craft and focus on developing new ways to increase the likelihood that our students will improve in the future. Sometimes we need to adapt, i.e. we need to be more mindful of our audience because they’re a major reason why we went into this profession in the first place. To me, self-examination presents a more challenging path to walk because you assess the choices you make and the implications of those choices. I believe that students have the capacity to reach the goals that I set if I more effectively communicate my objectives and directions and revisit my methods when and where necessary.
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