Prompt 2: One thing you did today that will impact someone else's tomorrow #AprilBlogADay Challenge

One thing you did today that will impact someone else's tomorrow...

One of the things I really love about being a teacher, especially of high school students, are the conversations I get to have with kids.  I learned early on that authenticity and transparency means more to teenagers than when you are closed off and aloof.  I remember as I was finishing grad school at NYU, one of the pieces of advice that circulated was, "Don't smile until December." I am sure I am not the only teacher out there who has been advised something like this as a pre-service educator. This always felt odd to me.  I remember loving my teachers who were warm, who laughed, and who were people I could seek out and talk with with outside of class.  I wanted to know my teachers were on my side and would advocate for me if I needed that.  I have always worked to do this for my own students. I am not a friend, but I am part of a team of adults who support the development both academically and social-emotionally until we push them out of the nest into the world.

Today, we begin two days of midterms, practice exams for students to help prepare for State Exams and AP Exams in May and June.  It also offers teachers important date to structure curriculum for the remainder of the school year.  Before beginning this morning we were in out rooms with our Advisory Groups (all our teachers have a group they are with until graduation).  I share my room with an 11th grade group while I have a gaggle of 10th grade ladies.  There is one student in the 11th grade group who I taught all last year- for both World Lit and Theatre Arts.  A young woman who continues to have behavior issues, struggles with work completion for numerous reasons few of which are academic.  

She came in and pulled up a desk next to mine and we began a conversation about how SAT prep class was going...from there we ebbed and flowed around things like: GPA, community college vs 4 year schools, in state vs. out of state, and what success for her might look like long term.  Eventually we settled into a talk about financial aid and scholarships. How do you pay for out of state tuition, Miss?  I had been doing my own research earlier in the week and rediscovered Fastweb.com, a scholarship and grant search engine that I used when I was in high school in the early 90's.  It has come a LONG way in 20 years.  We sat and set up and account and instantly there were 56 possibilities of scholarships she could apply to.  "If you decide to apply for this one I can read it over spring break and then we can submit it when we get back to school on the 13th," I told her.  Her eyes got wide, surprised by the offer.  One could see that suddenly there were possibilities and options for a kid that had been feeling defeated 20 minutes earlier.

I know that this conversation had an impact.  I know that I offered her a tool that she can access and utilize on her own.  I know that being the right teacher at the right time is often what it is all about.  

Comments

  1. Great post! I'd love to hear more about Advisory Groups--we're looking at trying those in my school. Some teachers are afraid it will be "more work"--it sounds like you had some student free time to meet with them?

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    1. I think it can be a mixed bag for sure. Each grade team at my school has worked to develop curriculum about school grows. For 10th grade we do 3 days o week of study hall, one day of.college/sat prep and one day of community group discussion. I'd be happy to share more, just let me know! Thanks for reading too!!

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