My wife and I attended a hockey game in Tacoma featuring the now non-existent Sabre Cats, and a little boy of about 3 or 4 years old cheered the entire game for the Sabre Cats. He had a little jersey on and waved his pennant the whole game. He also had the cutest little, high-pitched voice.
“Go Sabre Cats, go!” Actually, because he was still learning to talk it sounded like “Sabo Cats!” Normally, this isn’t too extraordinary until I explain that he was the only one still cheering. The score was 7 – 0, and the Sabre Cats were not winning. Still, that little boy cheered the entire game.
My wife and I still remember that little boy yelling to the team “You can do it, Sabo Cats!” with 30 seconds left in that hopeless game. Quite honestly, it was one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen. He was just so full of excitement and support and still truly believed his hockey team had a chance.
My question now is: when do our students lose this innocence, this idealism, this sense of dreaming?
By the time I get the students at the high school level, a deep cynicism or pessimism has set in with quite a number of students. Some teachers claim that the kids begin to change in 6th grade. Some of the reasons include:
- the students begin to move from teacher to teacher,
- puberty sets in,
- peer pressure begins to work on the kids,
- school becomes work instead of games, and
- parents begin to give students more independence (spending less time with them).
I’m not sure what it is but I do see a marked change in students over time, and I feel that much of my job is to help my students find some passion again. “You move towards that which you think” is a mantra the students hear from me often. Many seem to believe their dreams are unreachable, even small and realistic ones. Too often I hear their lack of self-esteem dominate their actions.
When do you think these changes hit the kids? What causes the changes?