I have actually said to many different Learning Coaches, “I would love to have 100 students just like yours in my classroom!” I’ve meant it every single time. Yet, the students I would love to have don’t all fit into the same mold. Here are some common statements about the “perfect” student that simply don’t transfer to the virtual setting:
The perfect student should always be in class from 8:00am-3:30pm, never being absent or tardy. In our virtual setting, students can watch a recording from a previously held live session. I have many amazing students who miss class occasionally due to world travel, medical issues, training, etc. They learn on their schedule, including nights and weekends.
The perfect student should be dressed conservatively. Clothing, hair color, and even body art for some high school students is a way to express themselves. In traditional schools, clothing may be a modesty issue- which I can understand. But, I do not agree that a student’s hair color or piercings hinders others from learning. I also don’t think a student who prefers to dress more modestly should be judged by peers as “uncool” because they are conservative. In the online setting, the guardians decide what is appropriate for their child to wear to class- what a novel idea!
The perfect student should not speak until permission is granted by raising theirhand. I want students to communicate with me. Class is interactive and I’m asking questions I want answered by my students. While disrespect should never be tolerated, raising your hand to receive permission to speak is a little outdated. Most of my students in my virtual classroom use the chat box to communicate, however, they also have the option of using the microphone or whiteboard to communicate.
The perfect student has two parents involved with their schooling. This might have been the case 50 years ago, but let’s face it, there are many students not being raised by both or even one biological parent. Students enrolled in our school need a responsible learning coach, but this is often a grandparent, adult sibling, or family friend.
The perfect student should be placed in on-grade level courses. What about gifted students or students who take longer to master a concept? Cookie cutter methods tend to teach to the middle of that bell curve. Not all students learn the same way or at the same rate. Education is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor.
The perfect student should not bring distracting technology (like a cell phone, tablet, etc.) into the classroom. Unless you are living in a time machine set back to the Stone Age, you know how important technology is to our society. Students should bring and appropriately use these technology in the classroom. We should guide them, and encourage them to use it appropriately as a learning tool.
There is no such thing as a “Perfect Student”. Virtual learning has allowed each of my students to show their unique brilliance. I want them to be their best, because they are the best!