Verbatim: Should commitment be questioned before it's made?

Posted: Monday, December 13, 2010

I walked into class on the first day of my junior year with the expectations of having hard classes. What I didn't expect was the attitude of my teachers. In my first four classes, all of my teachers started with, "This (class) should be the most important thing to you, and if you're not ready to commit, you need to get out now."

Now, I've heard this exact same speech from literally every sports team, activity, or group that I have joined in my lifetime and I have to ask, is this really what we want our attitude about team settings to be?

In one of my classes after this speech (we actually got it two days in a row) four people dropped the class, and I really wondered: would those people have really struggled with the class? Or were they just struggling with the idea of giving up every second of their freedom to "commit" to the homework?

I don't think that scaring off students is the true way for any activity to function.

School is centered around involvement; there are studies that say kids who are more involved in sports teams and other extracurricular activities are more likely to graduate from high school. If this is true, then why would we intimidate students into giving up these supposed essential activities?

We need to sit down and think about how we are presenting ideas to students. From personal experience, if we are in the middle of a sports season and we get this well-known lecture we just sit there and roll our eyes.

But if we had been given it on the first day, I'm sure that members of the team would have at least been more cautious to join.

Overall, teachers need to realize it's OK if a student cares more about history than math, or academics vs. sports; it doesn't mean there is a lack of commitment.

Give students a chance; if they're having trouble, help them out.

But don't start an activity assuming that they will fail.

This article is the opinion of Katie Clonan. Clonan is a junior at Skyview High School.

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