I ask myself this question at times, and it becomes increasingly difficult to answer. It is the single most important question a teacher can ask their students. It should be a question asked pointedly, every so often, when you feel the kids are open to sharing their dreams.
And when you get a student with a consistently insubstantial answer, then it is apparent there is some underlying issue – a lack of motivation and interest, a feeling of ineptitude and self-sorrow, or any number of things. The passion and curiosity exhibited by the 3rd grade student should not be lost in middle or high school, but rather supported and directed. A third grade student might say “an astronaut” one month, and “a zoo keeper” the next, and this range of answers is both healthy and necessary. And as a student progresses through the end of high school, you hope to see the direction become somewhat more identified, as they gain new experiences into different fields of study.
When our schools and teachers are being insufficiently supported, this lack of motivation takes hold on more and more students as their educators are unable to provide the academic stimulation that kids so crucially need from the day they are born to the time they graduate from high school, and beyond.
Teachers and educators at some point in their lives asked themselves this question, and they chose to embody the driving force of the nation and the definition of our future: the students and their dreams.