up right where we left off in chapter 3, it's important to remember the
questions you are to reflect upon throughout reading this chapter. I have
included them again for your reference:
know how they learn?
know how to keep them inspired about learning?
know how to keep them motivated to excel?
know their goals and aspirations?
know their needs and interests?
know their experiences and realities?
know their challenges and obstacles?
know their neighborhoods?
Your Students' Goals and Inspirations:
do your students have academic and personal goals for the school year? Is so,
do you know what they are? Are they written down? Are they posted? Do you see
stud nets intentionally preparing for their success?
Let's be honest, this is hard for our elementary aged students because they
simply do not know what's out there for them. They have heard of doctors,
teachers, lawyers, policed officers, but even with those professions, do they
really know what they entail? It is our job to gauge their awareness of the
thousands of possible career paths. If we fail to help our students see the
connections between what they are learning in school and possible future
careers, then our students are bound to underperform.
how do we do that? Relationships!! You have to know students and you ha to know
what they know. They have to feel comfortable speaking to you openly and
honestly about their goals and aspirations; if barriers exist between teachers
and students, then the relationship you need will never develop.
Your Students' Needs and Interests
majority of us come from middle class backgrounds and with that comes our
middle class perspectives and assumptions. We bring them to school everyday.
It's not necessarily a bad thing, but e problem is when we impose our
assumptions on students without taking their backgrounds, including needs and
interests into consideration.
students have a wide variety of needs beyond the basic; food, clothing and
shelter. Again, of you have no relationship with them, you will never know what
they truly need. Tens of thousands of children report to school hungry everyday
because hey have nothing to eat at home. How and why do we expect these
students to focus on school when they are sitting in your room hungry?
Fortunately, our students have the option to eat breakfast and efforts are in
place to increase the number being served. In addition to going hungry, many
students are homeless and/or living in deplorable conditions. You may know your
students are homeless, but you will never know to what extent, if you do not
know your students and to what extent these needs are impacting their education
or ability to learn in your classroom.
must learn our students interests. Coming from our middle class backgrounds,
bring our middle class interests that may be different than our students. We
may help them connect to interests and potential career paths related to those
Your Students' Experiences and Realities
is it like to walk in your students' shoes? Do you know? Could you handle what
they handle outside of school on a daily basis? How can you come to know this
information? You can talk to students about their lives, visit their homes, get
to know their parents and families, but this would be most impactful outside of
school. Are you willing? What would it take?
stories shared in Principal Kafele's book speak of times when he did this which
involved gangs, mice and ruined stained hallways. You think your experiences
would be different walking into the homes of our students? Knowing what our
students survive helps us hold them accountable and allows us to maintain high
expectations for all.
Your Students' Challenges and Obstacles
kind if unique challenges do Sigler students face? Do these challenges effect
their desire to excel in the classroom? Are you able to help them overcome
these challenges? The only way to know is to know what the challenges
speak with a local police officer every month or so, to keep on top of what is
happening in the community and with our students/ families. Our last meeting
was a punch in the gut and a slap of reality when it comes to knowing our
students experiences and challenges. A student that attended Sigler last year
has found himself involved in drugs and gang activity to the point whee a known
gang member was visiting the house describing what the initiation would look
like (getting best up, by multiple grown men) and then being asked to take a
gun and kill someone. Fortunately, the police were following the known gang
member and he was arrested, but recently let out on probation. That is real!
Can we change it? In my mind, I want to and I would stop at nothing while our
students are at school to guide them and mold them so when e reality comes,
they are equipped to make the best decision.
Your Students' Parents
know the involvement and engagement of parents in their child's education is
essential to their academic achievement. Students whose parents believe
education sine key to their childrens' success are far more likely to do well
in school than those who are uninvolved. If you do not know your students'
parents, you do not fully know your students. We know parents can be hard to
track down, and it's not solely the teacher's job to seek them out, rather is
the school community's responsibility. We must work collaboratively to devise
strategies that will work to get parents involved.
Your Students' Neighborhoods
you know your students' neighborhoods? Do you understand them? Do you respect
them? Be mindful we must be careful when we talk about students' neighborhoods
because students often are their neighborhoods-they are the products of their
unique surroundings. When we lack knowledge of the neighborhood, we lack
knowledge of the students. When we lack respect for the neighborhood, we lack
respect for the students. So, get to know the neighborhoods. You do not need to
be a fixture of the street, but we do need to develop some familiarity with
what goes on their, beyond the stereotypes.
you interested? This week we will be having a parenting class at The Oaks, on
the clubhouse. Come check it out. Later this spring we will be going door to
door passing out flyers about Head Start and Pre-K so out families know the
importance of having children in school at an early age.
doing our Sigler Race activity in January, I was made aware that for some, it
was the first time being at some of the neighborhood apartments or parts of the
community. If that is the case, do you know your students well enough?
heavy stuff folks, but it will change you, if you let it and Sigler will be the
better for it.
will keep sharing videos of Principal Kafele as they directly support the words
in his book, "Closing the Attitude Gap".