According to common sense a “good” student can sit quietly in class and listen to everything the teacher tells them. They do not question what the teacher is telling them, or disrupt the class in any way. They are able to absorb all the information given to them no matter what. A “good” student does not have any learning or behavioural disability/issue that is going to affect their ability in the classroom. A “good” student is generally a white middle class child. They sit properly in class, pay attention to only the teacher, and they learn. Then, when the “good” student faces an assessment, they are able to pass with flying colours. This student is seen as the “bank” that Freire talked about.
This idea of a “good” student is very hard for me. I always asked questions in class if I did not understand, or questioned what we were learning. I always wanted to know why we are learning this, and how it applies to life skills. I could also be talkative in class. My class only had six people in it, so we were very close and always had something to talk about. In school I was also very determined to understand concepts, so if I was not understanding it I would repeatedly ask the teacher to explain it so I could grasp it. I did not want to memorize, I wanted to learn. I never had problems academically, but maybe I would have if I sat in class like the “good” student should. Apparently I was not a “good” student in school according to common sense, but that is okay with me.
As a teacher I refuse to put these expectations on my students. If I could not do it as a child, I cannot expect them to. I understand that it may get frustrating at times if they are talking too much, or are not always paying attention, but that is a part of the profession. There are always ways around it like making a more exciting lesson plan, or engaging the students in conversations about the topic rather than what’s happening at recess. I think every student can be a “good” student, but not by these standards. Every single student has the potential to learn, and that alone makes them a good student, and it is my job to guide them. If they cannot grasp a concept I believe that it would be me who is at fault, and it is me who can adjust my explanation in order to understand. I want my kids to ask questions, and engage in the class! Where is the fun in teaching if every student was a “good” student?