A recent post on a colleague's blog brought to my attention some difficulties and frustrations with teaching seniors. I personally love my senior class, they are all engaged and I learn so much from them on a daily basis.
I responded to the post with a comment asking the question,
"What should a senior classroom look like?"
I then received the following email:
Maybe you could start the conversation about seniors on your blog since it has a wide audience of teachers. I think, though, that the answer to your question of what "should" a senior classroom look like is very different from what senior classrooms actually look like-- in most schools. I say most because I am rattled by people acting like QHST is to blame in some way for the way things go all over.
My mom has a tradition of buying my kids school supplies. Last year, when she asked them what they needed, my daughter said "All I need is my cell phone and my car keys-- I'm a senior."
This is a nation-wide situation. Didn't we read an article last year about senior internship experiences that are more real-world than expecting kids who have already been accepted to college to sit for yet another year?
Back to my being rattled...( another teacher )... said that a graduate of QHST said she didn't feel prepared for college. Guess what? My daughter said the same thing-- coming from all honors and AP classes in a very traditional high school! AND her classes in college are very student-centered. "Student-centered" does not necessarily mean all group work or all projects or all coloring with markers; it only means that we plan our teaching around our students' needs and abilities and interests so that they can be actively engaged in constructing knowledge rather than passive recipients of knowledge.
We do need to look at senior year, and how we can engage all of our students in their education. But to expect them to appreciate something that they not only take for granted but resent as it is compulsory is unrealistic. It's like us waking up everyday and not complaining about work, but celebrating that we have a job. Or remembering to be grateful that we have houses when the roof needs repairs. Or that we have food when we have to cook dinner.
Even my own perfect kids copy homework (but homework is a whole different topic). We teachers have to remember that all students are not the nerds that we once may have been.