So in an earlier post on raised expectations I spoke about how I had started to see the value and importance in having high expectations for my students. This week I was in a staff meeting and the principal started a discussion about page formatting consistency and high expectations for student work to be held throughout the school. I was shocked and surprised to see what the other teachers had to say on the topic as I had just been thinking about it the past week! And what an enlightening experience it was.
First of all, the page formatting. As any teacher will know we all get rather particular about the way we like students to set up their pages when writing. (It gets silly how strongly teachers feel on this topic very quickly!) Name and date are a given. But where? After some back and forth a place for the name, date and title were agreed upon and now the hope is that by years end there will be consistency throughout the school. It seems a bit ridiculous but it makes sense when you are a teacher. The small things can drive you a bit crazy sometimes!
The most important part of the discussion however was the whole school expectation for student work. It was agreed upon that the whole school would adopt the expectation that all students deliver work that is high quality. Work needs to be neat and legible. Any work that is not of the quality expected should be redone until it meets the expectations that have been set.
Now with that said, these expectations are anchored in the ability of the student. It is unreasonable to expect a student who is just learning to write to hand in a letter with perfect printing. It is however not unreasonable to have that student hand in a piece of work that is the best that they can produce at that time. *It must be taken into consideration that rough work is rough work. And that there is room for messiness here. I know that when I write my rough copies they are usually messy!*
Having the expectation that students produce high quality work helps them take care in what they are doing. It helps them realize that you want them to produce the best that they can produce and every piece of published work should be a masterpiece.