C4T #2 / Blog Summary & Comment #1My second teacher blog assignment required that I follow the blog of Angela Maiers. Her most recent post included a guest post written by Lisa Cooley. Ms. Cooley emphasized the importance of teachers showing respect to their students. Respectful teachers model an important characteristic that students may then display in return. A student/teacher relationship based on this principle can also influence positive behavior in the classroom.
Many schools often have numerous bureaucratic rules. Minor infractions by students such as talking in the hallway or eating in class are a few examples Ms. Cooley refers to. Choosing your battles when disciplining students can make a major difference between earning the respect of students and resentment of students. Some teachers assume the role of dictator and enforcer of rules rather than working to teach students accountability. Accepting students as individuals and showing them the same respect that you would appreciate can bridge a gap that exists between most teachers and their students.
Ms. Cooley's blog made me reflect on the meaning of respect. Respect is something that is stressed and expected in many cultures, but especially here in the South. We are brought-up learning to "respect your elders and say yes ma'am/sir and no ma'am/sir". However, many teachers seem to view themselves as authority figures where respect is a one-way street. I replied to Ms. Cooley that after many years of substitute teaching, I have often observed teachers who clearly do not show respect to students. As a result, students usually do not have much respect for these teachers and have behavioral issues in class. I agree with Ms. Cooley's assessment that showing respect is not only the right thing to do; it is a practice which can help students learn accountability and reduce the frequency of classroom disruptions. Teaching students important life lessons does not have to only pertain to math formulas and writing skills.
Blog Summary & Comment #2
Wishbone: A Platform for Students Passions
It's difficult to believe that many students grow up with no words of encouragement or seeds of hope planted in their minds with the prospect of sprouting into dreams of success in their future. Reed Matheney published a guest post on Ms. Maiers' blog regarding an inspirational non-profit organization who helps build dreams. "Wishbone" is a non-profit, community outreach program which matches at risk and low-income students with donors who are willing to work with these students, helping them to learn skills they are truly interested in. I guess you could say it's sort of an apprenticeship. Donors get the benefit of helping young students, possibly opening doors that will change their lives. The students get the benefit of obtaining skills, real-world experience, and learn that their dreams are possible. Mr. Matheney addressed the fact that teachers should look beyond lack of performance, boredom, and behavioral issues. Get to know these students as individuals and explore a community out-reach program to give that child a chance. In other words, take the time to care.
Beth Schmidt is the founder and Executive Director of "Wishbone". Beth noticed that most of her students had few opportunities to pursue interests outside of school. Some students did not enjoy the curriculum in school, became bored, and had little hope for a productive future. She ran a marathon raising money to send her first group to summer camps. Each student had been assigned to research a camp they would be interested in, write a paper providing information about the camp, and valid reasons they would want to attend the camp. All students from this first group went on to graduate from High School and are all now majoring in the subjects which pertain to the camp they attended. I agree that encouragement by a teacher can become a life altering event. We need more teachers who stress the importance of success and dreaming big.
My comment to Ms. Maiers and Mr. Matheney included the story of my daughter's 6th grade Science teacher at a College Preparatory School. She seemed consistently ill and short with students; never had a tad bit of patience. She used her "teachers burn-out" as an excuse to take her frustrations out on her students. She had my daughter's class say, in unison "Would you like fries with that? and What kind of sauce would you like with your nuggets?" I was so angry! I can't really write on here what I had wanted to do with some fries and nuggets, but I guess you can imagine..... What I think now is, why can't she be more like the teachers in the Wishbone Project? Many of my daughter's classmates come from lower-income, inner-city, schools as it is a magnet school. It has a wonderful reputation for producing intelligent and prepared students. However, I think her school would benefit with more teachers who are willing to put that extra attention into helping students succeed in the classroom and researching alternative training for those who need it.
I also told them that I respect their project as teachers take the time to get to know their students' individual skills, interests, and abilities. Every teacher knows that all of their students will not have the same opportunities in life for higher education. A student should NEVER receive discouragement from their teacher! By reaching out to the community and placing students with employers who can teach them a trade they are genuinely interested in, the students have an opportunity to do something with their lives. If a child has at least one person in their life who makes them feel special, capable, valuable, and like someone believes in them, it can alter the course of their life forever. By implementing this teaching and caring philosophy, the lives of students, future generations, and communities would benefit tremendously.
Locke High School
Mock Trial Institute, UCLA
The community where Sandra lived and attended high school was infested with gang activity, drug addiction, and prostitution. The turmoil of her community affected her high school experience and her learning; however, she aspired to be and do more.
As a high school student, Sandra set many goals for herself: to go to a university and also to get a Master’s degree and a law license. She has always wanted to become a Public Defender, but she didn’t know if she would make a successful lawyer because she had never experienced any kind of pre-law classes.
Wishbone sent Sandra to UCLA’s Mock Trial Institute, where she was one of the program’s highest performers. She is now a student at Bennett College for Women, taking pre-law classes. Sandra is a Jesse Jackson Push Excel scholar and a pre-alumna ambassador of Bennett College. She is also the youngest member of Wishbone’s advisory board.