This past weekend was our first practice ACT for our students. Because we really wanted them to be there and we knew that without reminders they would probably not get themselves up on a Saturday morning at 7am to get to school, we tried to contact every one of our students the night before. We even called students repeatedly the morning of until they woke up and made their way to school.
On Monday, one of my very favorite school traditions occurred: administrator hall sweeps! Here's how it goes: the bell rings, students begin to walk to class, an announcement sounds informing students that hall sweeps are occurring, then staff members appear out of nowhere and begin herding students to their classrooms. I've mentioned sweepers before, but this time I came up with a new comparison: they remind me of snatchers in Harry potter! Here's a picture to jog your memory:
So, I started wondering if we're doing a little more coddling of our students than necessary. Is our over-attentiveness actually poorly preparing them for college? In college no professor is going to call his/her students the night before an exam and remind them to be there, eat a healthy breakfast, and bring a calculator. Furthermore, no one roams college campuses herding students to class. If students aren't going to class or other important academic events now, what will ensure that they attend in college? Some might argue that being on top of students in this way now will encourage them to subconsciously value such activities in the future. However, I worry that it actually inspires rebellious activities- if someone doesn't think I'll want to go to class on my own, why don't I just prove them right? And, doesn't the amount of people forcing students to do various activity merely validate these activities as not fun or worthwhile? For example, if I had to be nearly physically forced into my physics class, I'd consider it an admission that physics class is really as awful as I think. Don't we want to foster an environment where students are self motivated, not where they need our constant gentle (or not so gentle) nudging?