My apologies, but I am posting late because I was busy grading papers, my students’ first written and graded assignment.  I gave them a simple assignment, which was to explain what they expect, hope, or dream to get out of their college education.  I thought this would be a fairly accessible place to start for most or all of my students.  It would allow them to talk about themselves and their life, it would, perhaps, lead them into proper introspection so that they might be more aware of the need for goals and the work to achieve them, and it would give me a simple place to start assessing their basic needs for this course as well as to give me an idea of the quality of their education to this point.  Because it is the first assignment, the grading is taking a lot of time because most of the papers have numerous errors in one area or another, but it is a starting point, and all seem to have something that I can build upon in teaching them the quirks and intricacies of English grammar and the fine art of sound, compelling rhetorical expression.

I am happy to say that these papers are no better or worse than many of the first plebe (freshman) papers that I would receive at West Point for the fall composition class.  Like those cadets, they all have a unique voice in their writing, something to build upon.  And like those cadets, they have generally come out of their high school English classes not quite ready for college English, understandably not having foreseen the higher standards of discourse in the academic and professional realm, and, perhaps, not having fully assimilated certain basic grammatical lessons such as sentence boundaries in particular (comma splices, fragments, and run-on or fused sentences in).  This is not a knock on the high school teachers.  I know that all teachers in high school have a tremendous job, a Sisyphean task, if you will, to simply put in place the foundations and building blocks, the intellectual and moral structures, that will, hopefully, pay off one day when that student begins to get serious about life.  And these teachers perform this job with a group of students who are going through perhaps the most confusing and chaotic time of their entire lives. 

These teenagers are drinking from the fire-hose of some of life’s hardest lessons, having their world expanded by leaps and bounds almost every single day, which can be very frightening and frustrating.  They are learning daily about responsibility, reward, consequence, disappointments, rejections, hurt, cruelty among their peers, the sometimes fragile, unstable world of teen friendships, the ugly depths of the human sin-nature, and encountering the glorious and tragic world of romantic relationships.  Additionally, many of these kids do not come to class completely “in the game.”  Many or most bring with them the distractions of their various problems, concerns, fears, worries, excessive self-consciousness, low self-esteem, chaotic relationships, and, worst of all, dysfunctional family issues.  Certainly the teen years are not all dark and depressing, but it is most definitely a challenging time in life.  And the youth in your lives probably need a little more understanding, patience, prayers, loving-kindness, mentorship, an ear to truly listen, a heart to truly care, maybe gentle firmness in maintaining standards so they can have some stability in their lives and the chance to grow, but certainly more encouragement and humor.  It is because of the difficulty of these teen years that high school teachers have one of the hardest, yet most critical, jobs in our American society.   

More on this tomorrow.  I pray that God will bless you with a unique and effective work for Him wherever you are in life.

 


Comments

12/04/2015 11:06am

Don't toss a lot of too quickly, however. Hold every thing open up regarding concern. Due to determine what pieces may very well be had to complete the main challenge.

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12/21/2015 5:37am

We're also asked to do the same, to write our expectations and goals in life. When I was still in college, I observe that most of us were full of hopes and is very idealistic. We share the details of our plans on how we're going to execute it. Proper planning and timing on how to accomplish these goals is the challenging part. That being said, our teachers made a big contribution in achieving our goals.

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01/21/2017 7:04am

It was nice reading your experience with your students. This happens a lot and i thing you are on the right place.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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