A new student: new mind and new behavior

Doug is an excellent boy who is so well behaved. Being one of the four boys in the math class, he stands out for his respectful attitude and his readiness to learn. Everyday he comes in with his hands folded, feet on the ground, and sits silently until the teacher gives directions. During a lesson, he tracks my teacher and is always on task. He used to not always be this way. When talking to his homeroom teacher, she admitted that she was scared of having him in her class at the beginning of the year. He was noisy, hyper, and very distracting. While I do not know the entire back-story of the student, the homeroom teacher said she would share the amazing transformation of Doug who is now so well behaved.  As of now, I know that he started taking medication that really helped his behavior in class. While I would like to focus another one of my reflections on the benefits and consequences of students be medicated, I would like to concentrate on Doug’s great behavior now. It is important for teachers to never put students in a box since they can change throughout the year. With a little encouragement and love, Doug has become an excellent student who exceeds others in his class. He comes to school ready to learn and appreciates his learning. I find that I am more willing to help him because I know his heart (and now mind) is in the right place. While the teachers had to be patient with his behavior at the beginning of the year, their hard work and constant reminders paid off. He is a complete joy to have in the classroom and I look forward to hearing the full story of how he used to behave to how he is behaving now. I hope other students and teachers can benefit from the story of Doug since he has become a role model and a different student in a matter of months.


**Student’s name has been changed for privacy reasons.

Gender Gap

In the highest grouped math class, there is an uneven ratio of girls to boys. In a class of 16 students, there are only 4 boys.  Instinctively I wondered why this ratio existed and wanted to research if this gender gap was normal in core subjects such as math and reading. I thought about previous readings that shared how more girls were going to college and how more girls were earning honor rolls than boys.

While some theorists believe men and women are simply wired differently, other theorists believe gender socialization has played a bigger part in the processing and outward behavior observed in males and females. Although there are differences of opinion as to which behaviors between genders are due to socialization or to biological and physiological differences, I believe socialization has more influence than development differences in what boys are achieving in school and how they are behaving.

Males and females are taught to value different things from birth. For example, it is more socially acceptable for a boy to be really good at a sport and not at school than it is for a girl. More so than not, males who are good at school are labeled as nerds while females are labeled as being “bright” or “studious”. Boys are praised for being athletic, cool, and “manly”, but not necessarily for being studious. In addition, to show a weakness is considered lame, which is why some boys may fall behind because they are afraid to ask for help. While this does not fully explain the gender gap, it is a factor we must consider since societal pressures often include individuals to adapt in order to gain acceptance in society.



Ideas Transform Education and Individuals

One of my reflections from my Arts in the City Class: 

Ideas transform human beings. We must question if our education system and society create spaces for new ideas to be fostered, and if Western culture truly values the creativity of another human being. Do we encourage people to incorporate using their imagination, reason, and conscious when problem solving? Do we give time for people to actually think issues out? Instead of engaging these 3 receptors of goodness, beauty and truth, decisions are made on a whim since Corporate American and government generally move too fast to consider careful reflection and analysis.

When we realize that ideas have consequences and shape the way one views themselves and their relation to the world, we start to care about the ideas that are being taught to our students. I feel our education system and society does not do the best job in creating communities that foster ideas since most people get stuck doing the same job or task over and over, and are not given the time to create and be. In the sake of “being practical”, ideas that don’t directly relate to the problem or situation before us are largely discarded. It seems we are too busy as a culture to simply sit, be, and create. Instead of focusing on quality ideas, we generally settle for quantity since Western cultures holds onto the idea that more is better.

When the speaker brought up the story of Helen Keller in the Recovering Goodness, Beauty, and Truth lecture, I was struck with how the gift of symbols opened up Keller’s world and awakened something within her soul. Although Keller could only experience the world through 2 senses, touch and smell; she was alive to the beauty of the world. We read her sensations and experiences throughout her books as Keller revels in the beauty found around her and appreciates the wonder of the world. What she has is truly a gift since she was able to see the beauty in the world, despite her inability to see or hear.

Since humans are constantly trying to understand the meaning of life, we have the potential to create a world as we imagine it. Many times, people do not put enough emphasize on their personal responsibility of contributing to society since they do not see the world as interconnected. When one starts to takes ownership of one’s life and future, internal freedom is experienced, although external freedom may be limited by the choices of others. Consequently, we may find ourselves disappointed when we see a gap between the ideal and the point at which we find ourselves. How we handle this dissatisfaction will determine how we live our lives and what we take away from our experiences. By being careful not to be lost in the general, we take care of our human nature by exerting our free will within the limits of our imagination. We have control to see the world as we wish, and live out our ideal beliefs through art, action, and discussions with others.