A Former Student Speaks to the Value of Expectations

By on September 30, 2012

I thought this Facebook post from one of my former high school students would be appropriate to share in this month’s eCoach since we are talking about expectations. I took the liberty to alter the post by capitalizing Sonia’s personal pronouns. Social networks don’t seem to have the same standards as my English papers--too bad.

Sonia DelaMora Cruz on September 23 at 8:04pm
I remember thinking, "Why do I need to circle all these terms? Why do I need to underline statements? Why do I have to write little notes on the side of every paragraph? And, why do I need to Mark the Text? It’s not like I’m really going to use it in college." Boy am I grateful that year after year we had to go through marking a text. I often catch myself realizing how useful it really is, especially when I’m trying to gather information without having to re-read the entire text. It comes naturally now. Thank you Mr. LeMaster for being such an amazing teacher. Your hard work and dedication to your students has not been in vain!

Thanks, Sonia. We all know that practice makes perfect. And the same is true of reading and writing skills. Mastery--and the eventual transfer of skills--requires continuous, supportive practice.

Sonia was my student for three years. We practiced the Marking a Text strategy multiple times each week. Even when she and my other students demonstrated proficiency, we continued to work on skills.

My students will groan and complain at times, but I have become deaf to their protests. Academic work is tough, so we should prepare our students to be even tougher.

As students move through school, texts become more complex and require intense focus. Students need to learn how to be patient and stick with a task. Good readers are patient and diligent. They are relentless as they work to comprehend and interpret texts. We need to teach our students how to be persistent as they make meaning from the texts they read. If we expect this from our students, they will carry these habits with them.

Sonia--who studies at the University of San Diego--understands the value of high expectations. She embraced them in high school and is now responding well to them in college. It is a delight when our students become our teachers.

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