I was thinking about a school I taught at here in Olympia from 1990-2002. I taught middle school, and I worked closely with the Language Arts teacher to coordinate lessons between her subjects and my Social Studies subjects.
We placed great emphasis on reading back then, and the marriage to standardized testing had not become “till death do us part” at that point in history, so teachers still had some freedom to teach subjects in their own way rather than be dictated to by THE TEST.
Our students were doing quite well and continually scored in the 90% percentile with score levels at 11th and 12th grades, so we were feeling pretty good about our teaching styles and methods. Our students were reading the classics in 7th and 8th grades, and my history and geography lessons related to the classics whenever possible.
One day we received a letter from the principal of one of the local high schools where many of our students went after leaving us. The principal asked us to not teach the classics in middle school because our students were too far advanced by the time they reached high school.
I want you to read that last sentence again. The principal of a public high school was asking us to back off of our curriculum because their system could not handle kids who were too far advanced.
We were shocked at first, and then we laughed our asses off, and then we took the letter to our principal, who promptly got on the phone and called the high school principal. He very politely thanked him for communicating with us, and then he told him that our response to that letter would be to increase our efforts to raise standards and expect excellence from our students.
I don’t know why I thought about that today but I’m glad I did.
Never settle for mediocre. Never lower your standards to meet the expectations of the mediocre. We were not put on this earth to be mediocre.
Enough for today. Have a superlative day!
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”