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View Diary: some observations from a classroom (124 comments)

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  •  Welcome to my world (15+ / 0-)

    I teach 8th Grade American History in a working class  public school, about 70% free and reduced lunch, 40% minority, black and hispanic.   Over half of my students read below grade level.  In order to save money, my school took the top 1/3 of the 8th grade History students and put them in on-line virtual school classes.  If I pair students on cooperative work groups, I inevitably end up with a pair where both are one, two, or three years below grade level.  I'm not complaining, that's just the demographics of my students.  I've taught advanced courses in the past, as well as regular and Inclusion, and this is one of the most satisfying years I've had.  Trying and frustrating as well, of course, but satisfying none the less.  For me, the pleasure of teaching has always been that "lightbulb moment".  When children learn, their eyes sparkle.  That may sound a bit corny for non-teachers, but it's a real pay-off.  I have a colleague who is struggling under the same circumstances.  His biggest frustration is the gap between where he thinks his students "should be" and where they are.  Where they should be isn't my job.  My job is to find them where they are, reach down and raise them up a notch.  It's a balancing act to express both high expectations and still to encourage incremental growth.  For children who are used to no success, any success can be a moment of pleasure.  I'm sure sometime in the future I'll find myself in an advanced class again with students who have a  work ethic and just naturally engage in ctitical thinking.  It's like teacher heaven.  But out here in the fields, there's a lot of joy to be had as well.

    Always grateful to wake up alive.

    by Subo03 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 08:34:13 AM PST

    •  This (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Subo03, Just Bob, George3

      online learning can be good as a supplement, but in my opinion a good teacher still needs to be there, discussing and demonstrating on a human-to-human level.  What gets me every year is that in staff development before school starts, we sit through hours of meetings being told that we need to be creative and interact with students and then some of the ones that are behind get plopped down in front of a computer for hours in order to catch up.  

      •  about half my students have no internet access (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        George3

        except at school or the public library.

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 11:23:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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