Monday, June 29, 2009

Wanting It

When I taught north of Seattle, I often complained about my Senior's who wanted to go to college but lacked the skill sets to be successful. Since I began teaching at my current location, I've often complained about the general lack of desire to put forth the effort to attend college. Today, on the first day of the Steppingstones Academy summer program, I was lucky to finally see students who have both the ability and the desire to make it to college.
Yet, I couldn't help but wonder at what point these soon to be ninth graders will come face to face with the reality of their circumstances. They are inner-city students who face daily affronts to their goals. I also wondered what is different in these students than the other inner-city students who so easily fall into the existing traps.
These students amazed me with their capacity to focus, their capacity to discern. Marzano's Effective Teaching Strategies include "similarities and differences," and so I'm curious. My district's students come from similar backgrounds, but their motivation and success levels are very different. Why?

4 Comments:

At 2:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There in lies the million dollar question...what is different? My questions are who enrolls them into the school? 2. How did they do (academically0 before they got there? We do have motivated minorities in our school who do well...it would be interesting to see what the similarities are.

 
At 3:43 PM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

And ultimately, I think we ask the same question about all non-motivated students.
The program works hard to identify successful students; they choose to enroll in the program; they choose to work hard. Parents play a role in the process and they are quite dedicted to ensuring that their student takes advantage of the opportunity.
Obviously the scenario at a public, cumpulsory high school is different in that the student doesn't necessarily agree to be there. Yet there has to be a reason a student from difficult circumstances chooses to do well.

 
At 6:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is the intangible or tangible that I am seeking... What have they see or done that makes the want this? What have there parents seen and done that makes the understand that education is the best way to move their child forward? Would this school have the same success if the students were chosen at random?

 
At 11:35 AM , OpenID dkzody said...

Could it be the culture of the summer program vs the big school culture? I see this in our large, inner city high school where I teach in a school-within-a-school. My students do very well as long as they stay away from the non Academy kids in the school who try to pull the others down. The big school culture is not academic in any way. How do you change a school of 2500?

 

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