Little Johnny Could Care Less

There is one thing that has been bothering me for several weeks.  As an enthusiastic adult, I am excited to be in the classroom working with the students on the subject of the day.  However, the reality is that the school work itself is frequently so boring that were I not on the teaching end of the project, I would run screaming from the room.  That’s what occurred to me and it has bothered me ever since. 

There’s a gap in the meta-cognition between students and teachers.  We adults know why we’re in the classroom and we know how important it is that little Johnny  learns to count and read.  Little Johnny, on the other hand, could care less about all that.  In kindergarten or first grade, Johnny and his fellow students simply don’t have the development to operate on such abstract incentives.  Even for older children, who may have the mental development, there may remain a lack of faith in these abstract goals.  All too often, children fail to believe how costly and limiting a weak academic background can be.  Finally, there is frequently a maturity gap between what children know they should do and what they want to do.  Deliberately doing something horribly unpleasant is generally an act that requires a deadening of the soul that only adults have achieved.

The reality is twofold:  One, boring lessons place a tremendous burden on the willpower and developmental level of the students.  This burden falls hardest on those with the weakest motivation and the greatest need.  Second, it is crucial to remember that while school is “for the students own good,” it is rarely considered so by the students.  Anything teachers can do to make every aspect of school work entertaining and relevant is a giant step towards helping our students succeed.

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