At what point in a student's education should we begin to promote the college experience? And then, how often should we reteach the importance of a college education?
For the past three years I have taught Pre-College English at a large school in Washington state. Every year I found myself amazed at how little my students had prepared for college. They didn't know to take rigorous coursework all four years. They didn't know that they should have taken the SAT's before senior year. They didn't know about applications procedures.
I had hoped to teach at a school with a strong college prep focus. But my fate is to teach at a school with even less college preparation than my previous school.
Today one of my students, who I have during in my lower level senior English, told me that she wanted to attended college--that made me smile. I asked what community colleges she was looking at. Now, perhaps that was presumptuous, but she is in a level two class (we have four levels, and level four is the highest). "I'd like to go to Fordham," she replied.
Fordham? Clearly no one has had a meaningful conversation with this young lady about college preparation.
My question now will digress. Are we losing those middle of the road students to standardized testing? Meaning, are we so focused on making sure that those students have heavy doses of test preparation, that we forget to also focus on what comes after the test?
This Thursday, when I take her class into the career center, I am going to feel bad when she learns that Fordham won't be happening--at least not next year.