We’re already almost halfway through the term at this point, which is a frightening thought. It does feel like most of my students are finding some rhythmn in my classes: the students I’ve had some trouble with are starting to submit some attempt at the work set and I’ve got some of my more enthusiastic students ready to work hard enough to stretch themselves. But I think probably the most frustrating thing about being a first-year teacher is just never quite knowing how much you can expect your students to already know, and the level to which you can expect them to engage in some “higher-order” thinking.

The most obvious example at the moment is that I’ve set my year 10 class a Web Development exercise that another teacher has commented she would probably set for year 12s. Part of the problem is that I’m desperate for students not just to develop sites for the sake of it, but to do so with a purpose and an audience in mind. And it is starting to feel as though that jump to thinking about who is going to visit a site and why they would be there is almost a jump too far for some of the troops. But I’m very hesitant to just have students creating sites without thinking through these things: as far as I’m concerned I don’t actually see there as being much value for a student’s life if they are learning application-specific skills in an application they are never likely to see again.

I guess part of the deal is about allowing space for really high goals, but not being too disappointed if nobody gets there.

2 thoughts on “Expectations

  1. It is hard as a first year teacher to gauge where the students are. I feel like each year I have taught, I have been able to do more with the kids. I have a better feel for what they can handle and what I can expect of them. I would keep aiming high, they may surprise you yet!

  2. I think you’re right Geoff. Application and context are really important parts of any subject. It’s difficult though in working through the process of whether the student is ready to be challenged. I’m with ktenkely, aim high. You will also simply need to be ready to put in the safety net for those who need the extra support.

    I’m loving hearing your blog on this. You are an inspiration to me (both as a friend, and through my own journey as a teacher to be)!

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