I read something today by a 1st Grade teacher that was so powerful and so moving that I have to share it with you:
When I have a student standing in the middle of the room arms crossed with his eyes welling up with tears because we are about to do a simple writing activity but all of his previous experience of reading and writing has been full of frustration, disappointment and pain, then all the degrees and expertise (that I have) don’t mean a thing!
That’s why I even though I’ve taught at universities, I make sure that I know my students (interests, needs, desires, frustrations) and the language I need to use to communicate that I can help them. Because (all of the knowledge and techniques) are lost on the people who need it most unless you can connect in a way they understand. And taking those extra steps to ensure that your audience can both appreciate and apply what you have to offer shows that you truly care, and makes all the difference in the world.
The only difference between that kid in the first grade having trouble with a simple writing activity, and a high school junior who hasn’t yet been able to do his best on the SAT or ACT is that the older student’s eyes no longer well up with tears when other people are watching.
That’s why doing your best on the SAT isn’t about knowing a little more math, or knowing when to skip a question and when to guess.