Through the eye of the needle.

You teach ____________. You are an expert in the field of _____________. You have taught ______________ for ____________ years.

You have all the answer bubble sheets, to all the multiple choice tests, locked safely, in your overflowing filing cabinet.

You have all the workbooks photocopied and stacked for the year. Ready.

You control all the resources.
You decide the parameters of play.
You determine who will fit through the eye of the needle.

You can tell within the first week. They stand out like sore thumbs. They have the wrong friends, they have the wrong habits, they have the wrong life. It is your job to weed them out, like dandelions from your lawn. OUT-OUT-OUT. Don’t let them dilute this _______________class, this university (college) bound class, this academic class, this class where you are grooming these young adults for success in their successful lives ahead.

These students who have the right parents, the right resources, and the right conversations at lunch. Surprisingly too, they have the right answers to your questions in your stacked, photocopied workbooks and… get all the points, like ribonned birthday gifts shiny and encouraging.

Yes…these are the chosen ones, the ones we want in this room and the ones we want to move forward.

The ones who fit effortlessly through the eye of the needle.

You say you are prepping students for university (college) so that when they get there they know about ____________________. You say students must know how to______________, to succeed in __________________. You say it is your duty to get them ready for what lies ahead. Imagine what would happen if you did not…..just imagine, just imagine…

Their lives would be ruined, a shattered and irreparable teapot in a hundred jagged pieces. And you are not going to have that on your consciousness. Not on your watch as a _________ teacher, uh-uh, no way. This is how the subject has always been taught, you are grooming these children so they too can enter into this field, have the right skills and succeed.


Who told you this? When did it become your job to stamp these young adults with “will succeed” and “not able to succeed”. Who gave you that power?

Who made you king or queen of the silo?

Whose needle is it? Who does it serve?

Why Can’t ALL your students fit through?

What is the purpose of the needle?

And finally, with a heavy, heartfelt and pained sigh…what are the ramifications if you decide to put this needle down and go another way?

2 thoughts on “Through the eye of the needle.

  1. I really like this post Carolyn, especially the analogy of fitting student through the eye of the needle. It can be so easy to blame the student for the fact they aren’t succeeding – they have a bad attitude, are lazy or unmotivated, rather than looking at our own practice, asking ourselves how we can adjust our practice to engage and inspire all our students, even those who are difficult. Thanks for the thought provoking post.

    • I appreciate your comment, especially as I read you had a busy crazy week! I really need images in my mind to keep my purpose straight. This image really made clear what I do not not want, but what I think I did for many years. I want to make sure the exit point is big enough for all my students to fit through.

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