While my car was getting an oil change at the Volkswagon Dealership this evening, I was reading about the generation of students we are teaching today and was enlightened by what I read. First, I read about a young man who had a bedroom full of trophies from all the sports teams he had participated on. The trophies weren’t for all the championships he had won or any scoring records that he broke. They were trophies for just participating. The author explained how this child and a lot of children today don’t understand there has to be winners and there has to be losers. Furthermore, the author discussed how we as teachers, parents, and coaches are afraid to tell the children we interact with they may not be that talented at a sport they play or that they may need to work extra hard at math because they aren’t that great at it. If we give students this false sense of confidence and help lend them to believe they can do anything, we are setting them up for failure.
We want kids to be confident and that isn’t a bad thing. However, we can’t paint a picture of false hope. My experience as a coach has brought me to the conclusion that parents don’t want a coach telling their son or daughter that they suck. I have let players know in the past what their role was going to be and these players may not have liked me for saying it, but I guarantee I received more respect from those players in the long run because I was honest with them.
Recently I had parent-teacher conferences and I took a very up front approach with parents and told them, when needed, their child needed to work extra hard at working in my classroom. At times, I had to tell parents their child wasn’t going to be a great writer and they needed to spend more time finding something they liked to read.
On another note, why can’t we tell students there may be a certain number of them not cut out for college? Not everyone is wired to go to college. There are plenty of success stories about Individuals who did not attend a 4 year college.
My point and the author’s point is we need to stop sugar coating everything for today’s students and we can’t be afraid to tell students they aren’t good at something whether it is a sport or a subject in school. It is okay not to be good at something. I can’t balance a check book to save my soul and my wife doesn’t have me do and tell me I am the next billionaire. She doesn’t let me touch the ledger in the checkbook.