A 16 year old will
They're teenagers, so why do we expect that they'd be studious individuals that devote 4 hours per night to studying for our tests (I've stopped giving tests to eliminate this ridiculous expectation). Did any if us actually spend hours upon hours of studying? In high school? In college even? Also, does anyone actually sit and show students how to study/prepare for one of our tests? Then why do we expect them to be studying experts?
When a student gets a 40 percent on a test, the first conclusion is that they didn't study hard enough. The second conclusion is that they haven't been working hard enough. These are easy conclusions to make, and maybe that's why we jump to them so quickly. Blaming the student for acting like a teenager is much easier than being responsible for making that student better.
It's hard to say that a student hasn't learned the material completely and they may need to spend some more time learning it. So many would think that when we say this, it implies that we have "failed" as teachers. You know, 'cause it's easy to provide instruction that leads to 100 percent mastery for all of the unique learners in our room
. We have to expect that not everyone is going to learn things the same way in the same amount of time. This teaching game would be way too easy if there was a fail-safe method to get all students to the exact same level of mastery of a skill, in the exact same amount of time. When we think we've failed or are failing, that's when we tend to blame others.
Bottom line: blaming is easy, much easier than accepting a portion of the responsibility for something. When we blame kids for the problems in our classroom, we're taking the easy way out. When we blame teachers for the problems in our classroom, we're taking the easy way out. When we blame parents for the problems in our classroom, we take the easy way out. When we blame politicians for the problems in our classroom, we're taking the easy way out. When we blame administrators for the problems in our classroom, we're taking the easy way out. When we blame lack of funding for the problems in our classroom, we're taking the easy way out. When we blame unions for the problems in our classroom, we're taking the easy way out. Throwing each other under the bus only results in having all the people we need help from being under a bus, and leaves us standing alone on the sidelines.
The calls for accountability really need to stop, so we can start acknowledging that we all share the responsibility for students learning. Real reform will occur once we start thinking about how students learn, and agreeing to collectively share responsibility for educating our students. Pseudo-reform is going on when we start playing the blame game.