Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Cool Teacher

You know one of my favorite parts of teaching? The kids. I like being there for the kids and being that person that they want to talk to, not have to talk to. Being the teacher they want to talk to isn't everything, but there's something about teenagers having an adult that they can look to.

Not all of my kids come from the best homes. That's a given. Even kids that come from great families will still need an outsider to listen to them from time to time. By having a trusted adult, students have that one person that they can count on in their building. That's been the hardest part of this audit process. Some of the teachers who are being forced to leave? They were that special someone for some kid.

Two things happened today that made me think of this. First, a hoard of a dozen students were again surrounding me before first period started. They're mostly my kids from last year who miss me, but some of my current students drop by as well. Despite many protestations that my class was so lame and boring, they talk happily about the lessons we did and the fun conversations we had. It was just nice to be reminded that, even if they pretended otherwise at the time, they actually looked forward to and enjoyed my class.

The other thing that made me focus on this idea today is that I had a focus group meeting about a program we are starting next year. We're going to take forty minutes every other day to have a special class where a teacher is given about fifteen students to teach. The class will be about being that one teacher kids can count on. Freshmen will all be with a freshman teacher, but after that, students will stay with the same teacher for three years. We'll do college and life after high school preparation as well as just building a community within our group. I love the idea. I hope everyone really gets into it because it can be a really, really good thing.

It's good to know that despite some of our kids losing their special teacher after this year, our school is making efforts to help fill that gap.

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