Teach to students … then subjects.

Written on
January 22, 2021
Peter Hostrawser

If there is any year that taught us this is a necessity, it is this school year. I recently received an email from a student that read:

“I’m sorry I haven’t been participating in class recently. An immediate family member of mine in New Jersey has contracted COVID, so I have been really stressed out traveling back and forth from Chicago and NJ to be with my other family members. I’m sorry for letting you know so late. If possible, I can try to complete all my assignments by Sunday? I’m sorry and thank you for being patient with me.”

I had to take a moment after reading this email and say a prayer for the family. It hit me like a ton of bricks. So many emotions engulfed me. Mostly, I was upset that a system taught this student that she came AFTER the curriculum. Reading between the lines, the student puts homework and assignments above her family… or at least at the same level causing stress.

This is something we need to be very clear about as educators. Knowing our students first is so important. Knowing that they have so much going on in their lives is essential. Knowing their lens on life. Nothing can be learned if we don’t start there.

Too often educators are guilty of having a narrow focus on their curriculum. We take things personally if students don’t complete the work. Too often we thing they don’t care. We make assumptions. That caused a lot of damage to learning. That causes a lot of stress.

That causes a students to apologize for putting family over curriculum.

This is not the way we grow people to love learning. This is a tragedy. This is why I am driven to disrupt education.

P.S. Here was my email response:
“Hi (Student)
No worries at all from your class. I appreciate your response. Please do not be sorry for this. This is life happening and it is more important that school right now. Know that I will be here to help you through class items when you are ready. Until then, be with your loved ones. Family comes first. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.”

Peter Hostrawser
Creator of Disrupt Education
My value is to help you show your value. #Blogger | #KeynoteSpeaker | #Teacher | #Designthinker | #disrupteducation
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