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While I hope the students are starting to understand that I value self-motivation and initiative, they certainly prefer being told exactly what to do. I cannot blame them, since it is nice to know exactly what a teacher expects so you can tailor your work to the teacher. I also recognize that they need to become self-directed if they want to stand out in their careers.
My job is to teach rhetoric. You cannot be persuasive if you are waiting for someone else to lead you. Students need to learn they can be critical thinkers without penalty in a safe environment. I want them to take risks and maybe even fail at a few things. A weak presentation or paper is part of life -- certainly not every day is good for a teacher!
We'll have to see how the first speeches go this week. I'm not too worried; these students have a lot of confidence.