My first article!
I was thinking of writing an extensive in-depth look at parent support during 2020’s pandemic. Then I reconsidered. I should introduce myself and give you reasons why you should read my writing. First and foremost, my educational philosophy, I believe grades do not make or break a student, relationships with educational professionals does. Education as a whole should teach students how to think for themselves, and learning happens while actively participating.
Every Teacher has a Story
As a young student I made average grades. I knew how to put in the work to get the grades I wanted. In my household my mother told me I was the smartest girl in the world and my dad on the other hand, would hit us with the belt if we received anything lower than a C. My dad said school was everything and my grades will follow me forever. Then I entered high school with a single mother and a dad who was too far away to put forth any real effort. My freshman year I tried! I worked hard. Then I made friends and that changed everything. My new group of friends didn’t take school as serious as I did. I remember the end of my freshman year my English teacher told me I was smart but needed to do the work. She gave me another chance and put me in advanced English sophomore year. Guess what I did? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Junior year I was placed in the below grade level classes. None of the students could read a single sentence without stumbling. As for me, well I loved to read so that year could have been a breeze. Then boys happened and my life spiraled. I moved away for a few months my junior year and failed at online school.
Grades do not make or break a student, relationships with educational professionals does.
The turning point. The point where everything slows down and is in focus. Once I came back to my hometown I was placed into a continuation school. You know where the degenerates go, the drugies and gang bangers. None of those were me but all my friends were there. I entered May 2006 and that's when it all changed for me. The teachers there knew who I was. They saw my strengths and poured into me. Senior year my English teacher looked at me and said “when you run for president I will be your campaign manager”. That was obviously a joke but he believed in me and my ability that much. Keith my government/economic/ P.E teacher took my paper and stapled it to his wall. That paper was titled “We are the American people, Not Greedy Politicians”. Lastly, Chris the science teacher. A long haired garden loving hippie. He hated war and our government. The day I graduated high school he shook my hand and told me I was one of his favorite students. I talked too much, asked questions and always had an answer. This high school, the one that people looked down on, influenced me. It showed me that I was a somebody and I could do something with my life. What that something was, who knows. It took a year after I graduated high school to enroll into community college. I was there five years. Then transferred to a CSU and thought I wanted to be a teacher.
After Graduation I thought teaching wasn’t for me. The thought of standards, grades and mandates was too daunting. All the while working with students in after school programs, day cares, tutoring or church camps. I had a niche for working with kids. I loved it! I used what I learned my senior year of high school and applied it to every job I had after that. Respect the kids, listen to them and believe in them. I’ve worked on the Westside of Modesto Ca, which is one of the roughest parts of town. Only 33% of African American households have a high school diploma or GED. I’ve worked in San Ramon, Ca. where there is only 4% of high school dropouts. San Ramon also has more students graduate high school then the national average. Then I started teaching in Stockton Ca, only 32% of Hispanic households have a high school diploma and 7.9% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
This is where I found my passion again. Working with underprivileged, low income students. These students have my heart even the ones that flipped desk, tore everything off my walls, ran off campus and pooped their pants when they were mad. These are the students that opened my eyes and taught me the most. I may not have the best strategies on how to teach double digit addition or place value, but I do know how to reach angry students, hurt students, broken students. This is where my years working in low income, middle class and upper class comes into play.
This is where I have an abundance of information and would love to share it with the world. I hope my broken educational journey gives you hope, that a 2.0 GPA high school graduate, a 3.7 GPA B.A graduate and finally 3.8 GPA grade student can give you hope. If I can do it anyone can. It’s not about how smart you are its how hard you work.