I demand achievement!

Yesterday afternoon was gorgeous – a perfect afternoon for a shopping spree in Montreal, which I hadn’t done in a long while. It’s as if I were a tourist in my own city, since I no longer live in Montreal but lived there for so long.

In the very first store I visited (after stopping in at the Korean grocery on Ste Catherine street for kim bap to eat as I strolled in the sun) I couldn’t help but purchase this bag. I was going to get it even after only seeing this side:


and then I turned it around – priceless! – I ran to the cashier.


I feel like this is all I write about.

Sure, I demand achievement from my students. But they are always reminding me to ‘get a grip’. How do we balance high standards for achievement with getting a grip, with staying real?

When it comes down to it, if I only demanded achievement from my students I wouldn’t get it. Some might try to give it, those ones who are lucky enough to know how to get it through traditional means. But what about those who have other needs that must be met first, before they can even fathom academic achievement?

The teacher on the bag demands achievement – from who? Her students? Herself? Her school? In order for authentic achievement to happen on any level it ideally needs to happen on all of them. We need to listen to each other’s stories, really listen, to develop a relationship with each other that makes us want to achieve together. In that way we can expect achievement, expect success, happiness, accountability, change, love.

Really, I feel like this is all I write about. All I talk about. We can’t expect achievement (academic, social, professional development…) if that is all we demand. Real achievement is collaborative, it is relative, it is caring.

I almost didn’t post this because I feel it is all I write about, that it is the same old story. But then I remembered that there is a reason for stories. The stories we tell and listen to and choose to believe are the ones that tie us together and keep us alive.

So I’ll keep telling this story. I think it’s a good one to tell.


  • I so understand and agree with your post. It is important that we demand achievement for not only our students but ourselves. My new students this year were surprised when I demanded they do their best work and turn it in completed. Those who struggled with the concept became believers when the rest of the students ALL passed their first quiz. I now have students coming in on their “free time” to redo work “because it is not good enough!” What a wonderful experience. I’m not confident it will last all year, but certainly hope so.

    • Tracy says:

      And how did your kids become believers? Something about your classroom environment let them know that you believe in them. They wouldn’t want to spend time with you after school otherwise! It sounds like you are developing a wonderful community of learners. Thanks for sharing your story here.
      .-= Tracy´s last blog ..I demand achievement! =-.

  • Trish Baker says:

    Sweet. And i think you are a good teacher.
    Your students must be very lucky to have you.
    Keep up the good work.

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