Students often say, “What’s the Point of All This?”


Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World: Unlocking the Potential of Your ADD Child by Jeffrey Freed and Laurie Parsons.

It’s tough being a teacher these days. I see so many students who don’t seem to care about anything. I have no idea how to reach some of them.

The past two years have been tough. I have been teaching rotary music at two different schools. I know that there are some students who will never buy into music. They don’t seem to want to even try to learn an instrument. The problem is that the course is compulsory. Every student has to take Music and French.

Do you know where most behaviour problems and office referrals come from?

That’s right, Music and French.

I thought that this problem of cynicism I’d been seeing lately was due to a flaw in my teaching, but then I read this book and came across this passage.

“There was a time, perhaps a generation ago, when it was possible and even probable to find middle and high school students who had teachers they admired and respected. This is, sadly, a rare occurrence nowadays. I’m observing a rising tide of students who say they cannot relate to their teachers. This isn’t just the case for underachievers and dropouts, it’s true of pupils who are on the honor roll . . .

I have rarely . . . heard a child or adolescent state that his education was useful, inspirational, or joyful. Quite a shift from one generation to another.

That our educational system is now perceived as worthless by the very students who are excelling in it is the ultimate indictment.”

I guess that it isn’t just me. Our students are more cynical these days.

I remember when I was in school, I hated some of my teachers too, but I didn’t hate all of them. And I didn’t think that school was a complete waste of time. There were things in it that I did enjoy. Mostly band, track and field, cross country, and intramurals. And I had some wonderful teachers who truly made a difference in my life.

I wonder how we can turn this around. I want students to be able to identify with me. They don’t need to love my class, but I would like them to see the passion I have for it, how it could be useful, and to be inspired by my lessons.

This book has some great ideas in it but most of them are for working one-on-one with special needs students. I made a bunch of notes and plan on incorporating some of the techniques but the above passage has been haunting me since I read it.

What can we do about students who regularly cry, “What’s the point of all this?”

If you have any ideas, I’m open to suggestions.

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