I wrote the blog post
below today based on a conversation I overheard yesterday. I'm wondering what you think about the topic.
Student: I have a B in your class, I just need a little more time to get it up to an A
Teacher: If I gave you more time it wouldn’t be fair to the other students in the class. Rules are rules and I can’t change the due date for you because its not fair to everyone else.
I have been wrestling, rustling, brewing, and stewing over this conversation since yesterday morning. We hear things like this a lot at our online high school and it’s time for that to change. Students shouldn’t be treated “fairly” because that is inherently unfair. They are not all the same. We need to replace the mindset of ‘fairly’ with the mindset of ‘individually’.
Every student comes to us with different background experiences, a different skill set, different goals for the course, different life circumstances that are dictating their actions at this moment, different futures, and different needs. To bunch them all together under one realm is unfair. To say “rules” apply equally even though you are different is unfair. Students need to be dealt with on an individualized basis, this goes for instruction, assessment, and course platitudes.
Schools are no longer about creating workers to run our industries. They are about creating learners and thinkers. They are about relevance, and what is relevant to one student is not relevant to all students. They should be exploiting creativity, not demanding cookie-cutter-one-size-fits-all products.
Every road block we put in their way limits this ability. Everytime we fail to look at the student as a whole, complex being, rather than as another name on the roll count is a disservice to education and humanity.