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March Madness!

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Teaching and Learning
March 29, 2016

Never has this catch phrase been more true than this year! Of course, I'm referring to the college basketball scene. Even if you don’t follow college basketball, EVERYONE in Oklahoma should be proud that after 14 years, OU has made it back to the Final Four (unfortunately, my brackets were shot the first day with Michigan’s loss). But from an educational perspective, the analogy is clear: no matter how much we plan & strategize, we sometimes forget to add the human component, and then all our strategies go awry. This goes for testing schedules (one monitor doesn’t show and life is chaotic), internet challenges, budget cuts, and a host of other challenges. I am always glad to get through March Madness then crush April and see the calendar turn to May, which is the light at the end of the tunnel.

As I listened to the commentator this weekend discuss the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball season, he stated that their success was due to high expectations for players: they are expected to do their best not only on the court BUT to give 110% effort in every practice and in every activity off court as well. This is when I thought to myself, do we as educators demand that of our students EVERY day? That’s a hard goal to achieve but so worth it. We know our students will rise to whatever level we expect, and while I am confident you set your expectation bar high, I also know the constant reminding can be tiresome. Please try not to give in and take the easy road and just “settle.” Instead, strive to demand the most, and that’s what your students will do as they prepare for the state-mandated tests, Advanced Placement tests, etc. This is because these past six months, you have built relationships with your students based on your high expectations. So keep them high as April begins, and before you know it, it's marvelous May. Your job as an educator is never easy, but the world needs those high-achievers to solve the challenges ahead. Thanks for all you do, and happy March Madness in its waning days!

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