Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Focus on the Human(ities)

City = Resource

Many may think of the city as an unstable and crazy place to be, and the schools not as safe, financially supported or well reputed as suburban counterparts. One thing is for sure, there is a CORNUCOPIA (yes, i used my favourite SAT word) of resources at your disposal in an urban setting. From libraries to museums to neighboring schools and businesses, this is an advantage that can be noted, there are partnerships that can be forged, supplies to be shared. The staff at "N" High stressed this availability of resources in the city, which ties into the image of this magnet school as a culturally driven facility as well.

"N" High = Cultural chameleon

The school has its own culture that is constantly changing and reworking itself over years of time. And so they say this is what the school is known for. But I noticed that not only does it seem to provide a challenging environment with interesting course options available, such as an entire Law circuit pathway and of course Humanities pathway; including courses such as Sociology, Women's studies, Anthropology, Shakespeare, Drama and more, but the students are driven and want to succeed.

was painted on the slab just below the hallway ceiling

It was explained to us that someone always returns. A former student that had been led to growth and success comes back to give back to the community that formed him/her. One of the teachers/administrators that spoke to us had attended the high school and was now working there and giving so much back to the community that had given to him... and emphasizing the need to...

FORGE A BOND with the students

Regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, they are HUMAN BEINGS. "Forget the subject matter", he said, "notice how kids feel, make eye contact". Heavens do I find this in my heart. And show the kid you care about them as a person, care that they succeed; don't replace them with the subject matter.

I met a future lawyer, doctor, and teacher at a student round table at the tail end of the visit. These future and even current contributors to society absolutely 'wow-ed' me. I feel like this interaction was the most beneficial part of the visit because really getting to hear the students' perspectives was so valuable, since these are the personalities we are going to be teaching one day.

1 comment:

Frank said...

I have a similar take and experience with one of my friends who is now getting his PHD at Maryland University for Leadership. Before he got his masters he had one of the highest performance growths with his students on exams in the state of Maryland. He told me this was only do to one reason. He showed the students HE CARED about them and wanted to see them succeed. This is really the number one thing I feel you must do as a teacher care about the students and let them know you do care to see them succeed.