Re: The Polygamist Moms
- From: Islander <nospam@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2008 18:11:50 -0700
On Sun, 20 Apr 2008 20:11:34 GMT, Rumpelstiltskin
On Sun, 20 Apr 2008 11:39:23 -0700, Islander <nospam@xxxxxxxxxxx>
One of my granddaughters is an award winning English teacher. HerYou are justifiably proud! We need teachers who can reach the low performing students as well as those who are high achievers because we never know for sure what each student's potential might be.
classes comprise all levels of kids in the high school and she enjoys
teaching the lowest level the most as she says the honors students
are not nearly as interesting. The low performing
kids often are characterized as troublesome in the classroom but she
has no problems with them at all.
It is more than talent though -- I have seen her lesson plans for
each group she spends hours on of her own time. She looks for ways
to engage the kids in discussions that bring literature to a meaningful place in their lives.
She was not, growing up, a particularly outgoing or social person
and I admit her remarkable performance in teaching quite blew me
away. But she and her sisters were voracious readers as young kids
and often acted out the characters in their favorite books. She
does have something special to offer and I was pleased to see it
recognized with a national award.
Having said that, I hope that she does not neglect any students. I'm reminded of when my oldest daughter was in high school and was failing algebra. She begged me to not talk with her teacher, but when her grades did not improve, I investigated further. His teaching philosophy was one of concentrating on the low performing students, believing that the high performers would take care of themselves. Instead of stimulating all the students, he taught at a low level and my daughter, as well as other students, were totally bored with the material. I suggested that we put her on independent study and she blossomed under the new challenge. I have a problem with the approach that this teacher took. It was not motivating students, but one of spoon feeding the underachieving. In my view, that did not help anyone. We need teachers who inspire students!
Unfortunately, I think that's very common, or at least it was
when I was a kid. There was no advanced program at all in my high school. When I went to college, I was the only kid in the Freshman calculus course who hadn't had some calculus already in high school. The first couple of weeks of class, I was totally lost. It wasn't until the third semester that I really caught up.
The justifying platitude I heard at the time was "the cream
always rises to the top", but as you note, sometimes the cream just gets bored and neglects the schooling.
The high school she teaches has "tracking" -- kids are grouped
according to ability. She teaches all three levels. The lowest
level, she says, is the most challenging but also the most rewarding
as the top tier of kids are all working for college entry and study
with that in mind.
I think many of us don't realize how competitive the college entry
scene is today. Getting into a state university is very competitive
as well as the private colleges. Kids take advanced level classes
in high school to tally up points, do volunteer work as that counts
in many colleges. A B+ average won't get you into one of the
California universities although probably into one of the lower
level state colleges, such as San Diego state.
Another granddaughter applied to Yale, Harvard, Stanford and the
California universities. She is on the wait list for Stanford,
didn't get into Yale or Harvard but was awarded a Regent's
Scholarship to Berkeley and Santa Barbara. This scholarship
allows her to get first choice of classes, borrow text books from
the library for the semester and to work on research projects
with professors. She spent a weekend at Berkeley and also
visited Santa Barbara but decided on Berkeley as she wants to
major in Environmental Science and they have the best program.
This kid worked her tail off in high school and I hope she has
some fun as well in college next fall. She found the Santa
Barbara campus very appealing -- but her desire for academic
excellence won out.
California has a very good university system, although I will have to admit that my experience with the Cal State part of the system was not good. I took on a few students who were at San Jose State and was disappointed in their performance with one notable exception.
UC Santa Barbara has the reputation of being a party school, but my exposure to their research program did not support that. There are some very good people there.
Your story reminds me of a recent experience. I volunteered to participate in a local senior-to-senior project in which seniors at the local high school were teamed with us old folks in an anonymous journaling project. It was wonderful! The young man who was assigned to me was very bright and we had a great relationship although we were involved in a completely anonymous relationship, swapping a journal back and forth. He mentioned that he and his mother would be visiting Berkeley and Stanford. Since our communication was anonymous, I had no way of recommending him directly, but was able to set up meetings for him at both places with faculty who I knew from before I retired. He had a great time, but decided to go to U. Washington. Overall, it was a rewarding experience for me. I was able to finally meet him at the presentation of his senior project on solar energy.
I'll have to admit that the one thing that I miss from my former life is the kids!
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