When I taught north of Seattle, I often complained about my Senior's who wanted to go to college but lacked the skill sets to be successful. Since I began teaching at my current location, I've often complained about the general lack of desire to put forth the effort to attend college. Today, on the first day of the Steppingstones Academy summer program, I was lucky to finally see students who have both the ability and the desire to make it to college.
Yet, I couldn't help but wonder at what point these soon to be ninth graders will come face to face with the reality of their circumstances. They are inner-city students who face daily affronts to their goals. I also wondered what is different in these students than the other inner-city students who so easily fall into the existing traps.
These students amazed me with their capacity to focus, their capacity to discern. Marzano's Effective Teaching Strategies include "similarities and differences," and so I'm curious. My district's students come from similar backgrounds, but their motivation and success levels are very different. Why?