I work part time as a substitute teacher, and the school system has a serious issue. Nevermind the rigid standardization of classes, the over-emphasis of testing, and the fact that most “learning” is simply the memorization of facts. The biggest problem? Most students simply don’t care (though this is probably CAUSED by the previous issues). I only teach middle and high school, and you’d be surprised (or not…) at how many students just straight up do not do the work. And thanks to certain laws, teachers can’t fail these kids. Everyone passes anyway, so what’s the point of putting effort in?
But, this mindset is absolutely toxic. Apathy and zero work ethic is not going to help you in college or in the work force. The best way to fight this is by catching it as early as possible. Being involved in your child’s education is key.
Some kids have low academic self esteem- a “fixed mindset” (thinking they aren’t smart enough, will never “get” certain subjects, thinking that school is pointless). They believe that you are either smart, or you aren’t, and there is no way to change it. Of course, that is absolutely not true, and there are ways to fix this mindset. Check out this post by Kelly at Idealist Mom for tips on helping your child become a better student:
-Instead of saying “you’re so smart,” say, “you worked really hard!”
-Ask them tons of questions. How did they come up with that idea? What was the most interesting thing they learned today?
-Know that the brain is a muscle, and it needs to be exercised. Do word problems, riddles, etc.
-Celebrate failures, look at them as opportunities to learn from mistakes.
Photo Credit: Ilmicrofono Oggiono