In my current job I supervise college students in their final semester of college doing their student (practice) teaching. They are assigned to current classroom teachers who are their mentors. While visiting one of my college interns this last month I heard a great mini speech a mentor teacher gave to his students. I loved his speech so much it made me want to re-enter the classroom just so I could use it with my own students. See if his speech will help you. In my teacher’s soul I call this the YOU speech. It went like this
“Ladies and gentlemen, in 10 days it will be the end of the quarter. The grades you will receive then will become a permanent part of your school record. Your grades are listed online. You and your parents can check on them any time you want. When you check on your grades, If you don’t like what you see, NOW is the time to fix them. Here’s what I suggest. Check on your grade today. Then fix the YOU problems. Then come see me and I will do everything possible to help you raise your grade.
What is a YOU problem? If YOU don’t hand in your homework and your grade is low because of the zeros you get for homework, that is a YOU problem only YOU can fix. If you need to make up a quiz and you haven’t come in to make up that quiz, that is a YOU problem. If you turn in a rough draft and I make suggestions for things that will make your final draft better, and YOU don’t make any improvements, but just hit “print” on your computer and turn in the rough draft as your final draft, that is a YOU problem. When YOU fix all the YOU problems, then come see me and we will talk. I will do everything in my power to help you improve your grade. Unfortunately I can’t do anything to fix the YOU problems.” Only YOU can do that.”
I wanted to stand up on my chair and cheer at the end of this speech!
But I figured that wouldn’t be very professional. As an observer I am only supposed to blend into the background and observe. But I must confess to my blog followers:
- I thought of all those essays I had covered with suggestions only to be ignored. Many times I felt like I had spent longer on the essay making suggestions than the student had spent writing it!
- I thought of all the parents who had emailed me to check on a student’s grade. How could that grade possibly be true? Hint: The zeros indicate the paper wasn’t turned in…by your kid.
- I thought of all the students who turned in three weeks worth of work on Friday at 2:30 and said, “Can you grade those papers and enter them right now so I won’t be grounded from going to the prom this weekend?”
You can’t blame me for wanting to cheer.
It is time to give credit where credit is due. THANK YOU Mr. Broxterman for that wonderful speech. I’m sharing it with all my blog’s teacher readers. In the spirit of the month of Thanksgiving, I’m certain they will be grateful for your words forever. The YOU speech will be heard around the world in classrooms everywhere. On that I’m not even kidding. My blog is read in more than 30 countries. OK readers, link this speech to your teacher friends everywhere.
TEACH…To Change Lives
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