Experience has shown me that a division from the "repeaters" is necessary to the success of the 9th graders, both in order to relieve the pressure on already over-crowded classrooms, and to keep the younger kids in an environment with fewer negative influences.
No matter how many effusive messages I get from the students saying, "OMG Miss Garon, you are the best ever--that's why I passed Regents," there is just no way that I can take full credit for my students' success rate as a class.
From June 11th through 20th, high school students all across New York State are sitting for the Regents exams, comprehensive tests that assess whether they've mastered the material in their various high school subjects. As a New York City high school English teacher, I always feel in the weeks leading up to this period and into those ten days of exams like some sort of army general, preparing my company of 10th graders for battle--for a test that may not be fair, will definitely be boring, and is a dubious indicator of what they've learned, but a worthy foe to ...
I'd like to offer some suggestions for ways teacher preparation and certification might be improved for future new teachers.
The message my peers and I received from our master's degree was that no one really cared if we were learning anything useful. The master's degree seemed like a ticket you had to get punched to get out of a parking garage, or in this case, out of the probationary period before we became tenured teachers.
In this season of university graduations, I thought about the advice I'd give to new teachers embarking on their careers.
While I see the concerns about too many kids leaving school with a degree that is commonly viewed as "less valuable" than a normal diploma, I wonder if instead we should be asking this: Why are so many kids pursuing this option? In what way is school not serving these kids' needs?
Kids need to learn to deal constructively with difficult tasks--even ones that are subjectively boring or frustrating--as these will appear in even the most charmed life.
This week, high school teachers across the NYC Department of Education computed marking period grades. For me, this meant "failing" more kids than I'd like (not uncommon in the 2nd marking period.) This will inevitably result in some of these kids being furious at me when they receive their grades, despite having been given ample opportunities to make up missed work or come ask questions during study hall. One of the problems I've noticed with some of our struggling students is a total lack of consideration about how their actions today will adversely affect the goals of tomorrow; the same ...
Last week, third through eighth graders across the Empire State nervously sat down to take their New York State Education Department (NYSED) Language Arts exams; this week, they'll be following up with the test for math. I teach high school, so my students have almost a month and a half reprieve before they face judgment in the form of Regents exams--eight days of tests in all different subjects. Still, I feel sympathetic for the little guys and their teachers, and for their parents (several of whom are my colleagues) who are being awakened in the dead of night when their ...