Many patterns in teaching and learning emerge over time. The pattern of knowing what you don’t know is one of those long-term, polishing-a-rock patterns. Every time you, my students, take a test, write a paper, talk about a book you’ve read, or create reasons why you didn’t, you give me answers. You answer questions such as, “does she understand how to generalize?” “Does he know what this word means?” “How can I help them understand an abstract concept such as making an inference?” And the time-honored, “?” written on a test or quiz. Even knowing when you don’t know something is helpful to me, so I can help you.
I just finished reviewing your latest reading assessment. Here’s what I know now: Most of you know more than you think you do, but you’re still struggling on how to express it. Also, many of you need help working on big ideas, such as “what does it mean to generalize information?” or “is this a reasonable conclusion?” I guess many adults are not asked to perform such higher level thinking as we demand of eighth grade kids. You are little diamonds in the rough, my gems, and let’s bring out your best! It’ll take some time, but teaching is truly a patient, faithful process…I need to believe that if you don’t get it now, someday you will. Otherwise both of us will be ground down for not much but some fool’s gold. Your knowledge and education is your mental gold, and you want the most ka-ching!! as possible. It’s worth it to put forth your best effort, and have faith in yourself, too, and patience.
These are your gems of wisodom for today.