Now or the future

Today we started research papers.  Oh, the gnashing of teeth when I told them what we were going to be working on next.   The word seems to strike fear in the students hearts.  It doesn’t help that other teachers in the school are having the students do easier work in class.  My students are begging to read Cinderella and Snow White instead of Shakespeare, To Kill a Mockingbird and to write. While I know that today they are begging for easier work, I also know that when they go to college in the future they will thank me.  Sadly high school students very seldom can see into the future.  All that they know is what is happening to them right now.

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7 thoughts on “Now or the future

  1. Oh, I have heard the lamentations! I used to teach the research paper. At my current school, it’s done in the history classes.

    You are right. They will thank you. I have definitely had students thank me later for teaching them research writing, but in the middle of it, it is hard. Good luck!

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  2. We’re also working on TKAM! My students are overwhelmed by it, and I share your pain of being the “mean” teacher who requires students to think, work, and write. I keep reminding myself that I also disliked many of my high school teachers, but I learned what I needed to know and didn’t flunk out of college. Most days it helps — some it does not.

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  3. Your post brought back memories for me when I was a freshman in high school and the last thing that I wanted to do was read some OLD stuff that had nothing to do with my life. And yet … our teacher made us care. How? By relating the moment: Romeo and Juliet as young, doomed lovers. A Tale of Two Cities: the uprooting of everything we know (it helped to have one of the best opening lines in the history of literature ;o). But then again, we were not dealing with the challenges of today. But surely, even now, they hunger for some connectable truth – the trick is to find it, show it, teach it. Good luck!

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  4. I was envious of your students – research is the most interesting, self-directed kind of learning that students can do! It’s about the hook. Don’t let them slide.

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  5. I think it’s also the same for most of us. At that age, we say, why do we care? But I guess we need to make that connection in order for them to understand why it’s important to learn these things. Unless, they find the value, it will be less meaningful for them to do.

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  6. Research papers are tough, but they don’t go away. Thank you for giving your students the challenging work and the learning experiences they will need (and hopefully value later.) Really a challenge to teach and coach into all their work. Good luck!

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