Nov 13, 2008

"overachieving slackers"

That's a quote from one of my students. I love it. So do the kids in his class.

But it's a real issue. My students tend to have such high expectations - either of themselves, or imposed on them from an authority (parents or school) - that they often cannot or choose not to live up to them.

I'm supposed to be writing a research paper right now, but for the life of me I cannot figure out where to start. I'm researching three influential people in the field of gifted education and writing a paper discussing how they have impacted the field.

I selected Renzulli, VanTassell-Baska, and Rimm. Renzulli because everything I read has his name cited somewhere - it seems like he is the foundation for everybody's thoughts whether they like him or hate him. It hardly seems like I can consider myself educated in G/T without being familiar with him to some degree. VanTassell-Baska I originally looked at because my professor recommended her. But having done some preliminary research, she has done some amazing work with curriculum development. Which is one of the directions I want to move towards. I am finding her work very interesting. I was not going to write about Rimm. I wanted to write about Carol Ann Tomlinson instead. But everything I was reading, including my textbook, was either written by or cited Rimm. And she focuses on one of my passion areas: underachievement. Which is how I am finally bringing my thoughts back to what I began with: overachieving slackers.

I find that I cannot skim when I am actually interested in the material. So, I have read now several studies, entire chapters, and even a book just to try to get my head around these three people. And what do I have to show for it? A well-polished essay ready to email to my professor? Not even close. I don't even have a page of notes on each person. What I have to show for it is a mental list of students who are underachievers and fomenting thoughts about how to use the material I have just read to help them suddenly become achievers. My brain is churning about ways to help these students set reasonable goals, show them that effort = achievement, etc.

And the funniest part of this is that I am modeling everything I am trying to get these kids to overcome: overachieving slackerhood. I am so caught up in trying to be a good student, a good teacher, a good parent - in trying to reach each of these students individually, etc. that my paper is due in three days and I have not even begun it yet.

Overachieving slackers are us.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Gifted Education 2.0 Ning