Well They Should Know That Already
You need to stop saying this forever.
Stop saying the word should. Banish it from your vocabulary. If you’re a teacher (or a parent or a coach or any molder of young minds for that matter) it’s one of the worst things you could possibly say.
Should is a cop out.
Should is a shirking of responsibility
Should is an abandonment.
Should is betrayal.
Should is lazy.
Should is weak.
If you’re not quite following me yet, you should pay attention. See, as a teacher you’re not paid to teach Math, English, Science or Healt or any other subject. You’re paid to teach kids - namely, the exact kids that walk into your room each day. And here’s the important part — you’re charged to teach them as they are, not as they should be.
Should an 8th grader already know the parts of speech? Sure. Should a sophomore be able to work out basic percentages with little effort? Yep. (They should also come to school having eaten and slept and been safe and loved too, but thats a topic for another rant.) But here’s the thing, if they don’t come to us with any of those things, then that’s where we should start. It’s where we must start. It’s where we owe it to them to start. After all, what is the use of charging through a curriculum that doesn’t meet your students needs just because it’s what you should be covering? If you do, what else have you done by the end of the year but left your students further behind and even more disheartened by a system that should care more about them as individuals than it often does?
If they should know it already, then teach them it now, whatever it is! If you’re not willing to teach kids exactly where they are and teach them whatever it is they need to learn, then you should look for a new job.
The easiest way to distinguish an actual teacher from a burnt out grump who happens to stand in front of kids all day? The grump will tell you all about what the kids should have known before he met them. The teacher will tell you all about what they know now that they have.
Bonus Tip for the kids:
The “should” word doesn’t do much good on your lips either. “He should’ve taught me that.” “She should’ve given me an A.” “He should’ve told us that was going to be on the test.”
You earn your own keep in this world, sometimes despite it. Remember that should you ever find yourself about to utter one of the above phrases.