10 Expectations Students Have of Our Schools

My, how things have changed.  My husband and I are going through old boxes of paperwork he inherited, and I came across a teaching contract from 1897.

contract1

Of course, I was immediately struck by the salary the teacher earned – $40/month.  I can’t even buy a tank of gas for that now.  Then, I noticed the outrageous distinction between the “White” and “Colored” Schools on the contract, and was even more thankful that I am not teaching in the “good old days.”

contract2

Like many teaching contracts, the job requirements are given in general terms.  “The teacher will enforce the course of study prescribed…”   I don’t really care for the word, “enforce.”  It conjures up visions of teachers as police officers – or jailers.

From my extensive academic research of education in the 19th century (knowledge solely gleaned from reading the entire  Little House on the Prairie series AND watching the television show), I know that students were treated a bit differently back then than they are now.

However, Laura Ingalls had a few tricks up her sleeve – and one of them was to develop relationships with her students that encouraged them to respect her, rather than fear her.  Ever since I became a teacher, that has been part of my own philosophy.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case with every teacher.  Times have changed, but those relationships are still important – maybe even more so – today.  And, with these changing times, we need to consider that some other expectations for teachers should be changed as well. “Enforcing” the curriculum is not enough.

With that in mind, I connected wholeheartedly with this video I found on leavingtolearn.org.    It basically supports the entire premise of Genius Hour.  The video’s narrator mentions that she would like to “tweet these imperatives to every teacher in America.”

I would like to see them on the 21st century teaching contract.  Public education has definitely improved in many ways since 1897 – but it could definitely use some more upgrades.

“Enforcing” learning is so yesterday.

For more inspirational videos for teachers, you might want to take a gander at my Pinterest board.

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2 thoughts on “10 Expectations Students Have of Our Schools”

  1. Those documents are so interesting-I love things like that! Yes, I definitely think creating respectful relationships with students is vital, if you want them to actually learn anything. And I learned a few tricks from Ms. Wilder as well! 🙂

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