Recently I read this thought provoking article, from the Washington Post, on things that contribute to student achievement. This has to be the biggest ongoing discussion in education today and of all time.
Yes it is true that there are many factors that go into student achievement including social and economic background as well as the culture of the school as a whole. However, I do believe it is right for teachers to focus on their responsibility in the classroom, hence whether the title phrase of this post is true or not, when I am standing in front of my class I cannot afford to think otherwise. Policy makers and administrators will need to consider other factors a lot more, but when I am teaching, I cannot afford to give myself the excuse that what is going on is not down to what I have planned to happen.
This morning in our weekly professional development meeting our Assistant Dean of Faculty expertly put it like this (I paraphrase):
‘When your students enter your space, you have the opportunity to create a world for them that will trump any social and economic situation the have come from at home, that will trump anything they may be going through, that will trump any difficulties they may be facing in mind, in body and in spirit.’
This is what I have to believe. I must do my part with what I can control and have a lot of hope for the rest.