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Trust: Project 180, Day 36

“Man, I feel like someone cares about us.” –Julian, 2nd period

The new desks had arrived in the afternoon the day before, so it was fun to watch the kids’ reactions to the new desks as they walked into the room yesterday morning. To no one in particular, Julian, wiping his hands across the new, shiny desk top, bouncing his back against the new ergonomically-smart seat, shared aloud the above sentiment, smiling from ear to ear. Funny how things, even simple things, can brighten one’s day. Wish we could do more, Julian.

And finally, today, I will have the opportunity to hand back last week’s Performance Opportunity. Monday and Tuesday are devoted to My-Learning Projects, and yesterday the PSAT stole the day, so today is the day. As I have already shared, I was generally pleased with the outcome. I was especially pleased with the students who applied what they learned from the Practice Opportunity feedback.

I also mentioned earlier that while I was pleased with our progress, we still have a lot of learning to do. And that learning relies on two things. One is continued opportunity and feedback, which I will readily provide. The other is the kids’ mindsets as they move along with me. Much depends on their buying into the 180 approach and ultimately taking ownership of their learning. Many have begun to embrace it, but there remains a good number who still seem to be holding it at arm’s length, not fully trusting me or the experience. So, I will continue to work hard to earn their trust. Today, is an important step in that direction.  And it begins with how they respond to this latest round of feedback. Indeed, and as their performances yielded different results, I have narrowed it down to four result-response scenarios, and how I hope the kids respond.

  1. The kids who met standard. This was a mixed bag of achieving with or without my feedback. And while this is the smallest group of the four, their responses to the Performance Opportunity results are no less important. They have to be careful about settling too comfortably into their success on this one opportunity, accepting my challenges to stretch themselves to the next level and continuing the practice.
  2. The kids who stayed the same from the practice to the performance. Here the danger is disappointment and frustration. My worry for these kids is that because they did not experience immediate success from my feedback, they will not take to heart my encouragement, my advice that this stuff takes time and effort and that they need to be patient. I want them to understand that real learning is not about instant gratification. It’s about struggle, perseverance, and…attitude.
  3. The kids who went down from the practice to the performance. A handful of kids actually were less successful on the performance than the practice. Their resilience will be put to the test today as they process the results and my feedback. What I hope they are able to internalize is that they made mistakes, and mistakes are learning opportunities. The vast majority of their mistakes are easily correctable. Mistakes lead to success. I want them to embrace them as such. Yeah, I know. Easier said than done. But I’ll say it until they believe it.
  4. The kids who were way off the target. To a kid, this almost exclusively was a result of no practice and no feedback. I hope this serves as a reality check. Learning requires practice and feedback. Atop each paper, I wrote, “Please do the practice.” Not sure what else there is to say.

I will frame it as such when I give the kids the results today. I hope they receive it as I intend it. I hope. Trust is a tricky thing, but with this I have no tricks. I simply have a sincere desire to help my kids grow. Maybe, they’ll see that. If not, I will work even harder. Never been afraid of hard work.

Happy Thursday, all.

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