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05/22/2009

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As a classroom teacher, finding ways to challenge students ends up being a double edge sword. While I understand the need to try and challenge students but what ends up happening a lot of the time is you get resistance from the administration and from the parents. A lot of the time, the drive to have a high GPA is higher than the drive to be challenged and actually learn.

It obviously has to start with the desire from the teachers to actually want to challenge the students. However, what also needs to exist is a basic understanding that challenging equals harder... in a good way. The harder you engage yourself in the material, the more it will actually be learned and the more it will stick. Ten years from now, my students may not remember every tiny detail from our time together but, by striving to challenge them, the big picture will stay long after the details fade.

I'm not exactly sure what the cure is for this country wide but it really starts with the teachers. We have to realize that we are not doing them any favors by printing useless dipolomas. The college dropout rate is so high due to lack of preparation on our level.

Thankfully my administration has by and large allowed me to raise the bar and keep it raised. I have a high failure rate at the beginning of the semester that I attribute mostly to lack of preparation from the teachers they have had before. But what I've noticed is extraordinary. By the time the semester comes to a close, my total failure percentage becomes extremely low. As long as I keep the expectations high, they eventually rise up when they realize I refuse to come down.

I can live with that.

There is always a danger of expecting too much from students and having them give up.

As educators, we should take time to discover what motivates our students in order to increase school attendance with a higher graduation rate. Furthermore,the teaching strategies should raise the bar using Bloom's taxonomy. Using the two lowest instructional levels does not create higher-order thinking that challenges our students to prepare them for post secondary education and real world experiences.

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