In The Real World . . .

Posted: August 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

Whenever I hear a teacher tell a student “In the real world . . . “, I start thinking about this.

Yes, the MTV show “The Real World”, where they take 7 strangers and place them in a loft . . . .

Welcome to my classroom, where we take 25+ students (many who are strangers) and expect them to learn through collaborating, reflecting and sharing life experiences.

When a teacher tells a student that they are not in the “real world” yet, what are we telling them? That their life doesn’t matter?

When a teacher tells a student that they are not in the “real world” yet, how does the student explain taking care of their younger siblings every night while their parents are at work?

When a teacher tells a student that they are not in the “real world” yet, how do we explain why their parents are getting a divorce?

I know that some of the examples above are only looking at certain students, but we need to remember that student’s lives do matter and that we don’t always know what’s going on in their life. When we say “the real world”, are we talking about when they graduate and find a job? I had a job when I was in high school. Was I in the “real world” yet?

Remember that students are living their life right now. They are living in the real world. Heck, I can’t imagine life not in the real world. We have real numbers and imaginary numbers, just like kids (and some adults) have real friends and imaginary friends.

So the next time you want to help a student understand why we need to be able to get along with a group on a project, don’t say “in the real world”. Help them understand why today matters and why it matters today to work with that group.

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