Monday, November 5, 2012
Do we want our kids just doing school? Dr. Ken Ginsburg asked that question at an amazing talk in Winnetka on Friday night. The evening motivated me to rethink the questions I ask my children on a daily basis. As an educator, I know not to ask "How was your day?" "What grade did you get in English?" I try to be creative, however it often does come back to academic achievement. So on Saturday morning I had a conversation with my 16 year old. She is getting her first C+ in her honors Spanish class. She has talked about dropping down. I thoughtfully decided to try a new approach to talk to her about this class. "Tell me about Spanish?" I asked. She lit up and said, "I love it. The teacher is amazing and I love how she teaches. The class is really fun. I love how I am learning in it, although parts of it are really hard for me." We talked for a few more minutes and I said, "Why would you drop down it sounds like you love this class." Relief washed over her. I realized she thought she needed to drop down because she was scared of doing poorly. After our conversation, she set a realistic goal of how she could get help in the challenging parts from the teacher and the importance of focusing on why this class got her excited and not on the grade.