Sunday, February 8, 2009

Second Semester

I like the start of the 2nd semester almost as much as the beginning of the school year. Part of the reason I like it so much is my students have a new beginning with the arrival of the new semester. If they did not do well in the first semester they have the chance to learn from their mistakes and fix it.

This new semester has already seen so many steps forward for my students and some recognition for me; both of which have given my spirits a boost even as I battle the crud.

With the arrival of the new semester I give my students the “talk”. I tell them what happened in the first semester is water under the bridge and that if they work hard this semester they will only need to make up a half credit not a whole credit. This is also where I tell them that if they don’t get it done here it is summer school or a repeat of a year with me and that they would not want to suffer me twice. This usually gets a laugh or a groan from most of my students.

I had many students battle with me in the first semester but I have one in particular that I will tell you about. This one student battled with me all through first semester. He did not turn in most of his work, was insistent that he was not smart enough or that it was too much and too hard as well. None of this was true but it is what he perceived to be true. He also believed that if he failed I would have to let him out of the class. Boy was he wrong because not only does he need my permission. He also needed the academic coordinator’s permission, the principal’s permission and his parent’s permission. This is where he underestimated my powers of persuasion. I contacted his parent’s at the end of the first semester to give them a fair warning of what was to come. I had to use the stay-in-school coordinator as my interpreter I am fluent in ASL not Spanish. Once they realized that this class will help him go to college and be successful along with the fact that he could earn up to six credit hours while in high school that was all they needed to hear. He would not be allowed out of my class and he would complete my work. I can tell you he was not happy with me at all. The first day back in class he just glared at me but then he turned in an assignment and got an 81, he just wrote a great essay and it scored a 6 on the AP World History scale. I knew he could do it and now he knows he can do it. I have seen an attitude change in this young man and the fact that his girl friend “doesn’t want to date a dummy” her words not mine sure does help. It also helped that I gave him gift advice and his girlfriend loved what he gave her. The girls in the class gave him advice that was way too expensive. It pays to have teenage sons I use what I have learned from them to help my students.

Here is another change I am seeing this semester: after school tutoring. I am after school Monday – Thursday until 5in the evening and since the second semester started I have at least seven students in my room every afternoon for help or to work on assignments. I really like this part of my day actually I love this part of my day because I get to spend more one-on-one time with my students. I also get to know them on a personal level so that I better understand them and what drives them.

By the second semester I really do know my students well and I become very protective of them. I work with their other teachers, administer, and their parents. They are my AP babies. I am the first AP class they have. Everything to this point has been Pre-AP or regular classes. They have actually asked me to talk to our principal about having AP shirts made that say AP World History Ms. Penny Candy’s AP Babies. I am not sure that it will be approved but I think it is great that they want to be known as that.
The recognition for me this year came as a surprise to me and I am honored and touched that I was named Teacher of the Year at my school. This also means that I am a candidate for Teacher of the Year for the whole district.


Felicia said...

I think it's great that you offer so much one on one time for your students. That was the only way I ever passed any of my math classes in high school.

PennyCandy said...

Me too! I'm still awful in math even with a calculator.

HeidiTri's said...

After school tutoring makes all the difference in the world for some of us-in more ways than one. I'm glad your students have a safe place to go and spend time if they choose to after school.
Plus, congrats again on the award! It's awesome!

TC said...

Wow, congratulations! That's quite an honor :)

I have seen an attitude change in this young man and the fact that his girl friend “doesn’t want to date a dummy” her words not mine sure does help.

ROFL I love it! That's priceless :) Wish I'd been able to inspire a boy like that ;)

Bone said...

Ah, nothing can inspire a man quite like a woman.


PennyCandy said...

Heidi - I don't remember ever going to tutoring. I remember staying after school for other thing but never tutoring.

TC - Thanks I am honored. I think girls have more influence than they used to. I'm not sure why but hey if it helps him do well in my class I'll take it.

Bone - Thanks Bone. Yeah I'm amazed at what girls can do these days. I don't remember influencing a guy at that age. But then again I didn't start dating until I was 16.

HeidiTri's said...

Mr. Kivlin! He was willing to work with me before school, during home room, during lunch, during study hall and after school for the second half of my senior year, so that I could pass the Trig Regents exam. That guy could find 25 different ways to explain one math problem, until I finally got it!
And because he cared so much, it was one of the two classes I actually cared about.

PennyCandy said...

Yeah I can see Mr. Kivlin doing that. Did I tell you Mr. Bailey is retiring this year along with Mrs. Isacs and a bunch of other teachers as well. Actually Kev probably told you.

HeidiTri's said...

At last count, there were 8 teachers retiring. I'm sad that some (like Mr. Bailey) are going, but hopefully it will prevent the school from havin to lay off any teachers to meet the budget deficit here in NY.

Speaking of Mr. Bailey, he was the teacher of the other class I cared about. He cared about every student, and pushed us to do our best.

PennyCandy said...

I sent Mr. Bailey and email the other day to thank him all he did for me. I sent one the Mr. Rueter as well. I heard back from Mr. Bailey.

Felicia said...

Don't worry, I would never give you such hard letters! How about "S"? I can't wait to see your answers!