Monday, August 6, 2012
Today I had to go down to my school for an all day training called "No Excuses University". This training was very motivational and depressing at the same time as it talked about the data behind all students below the poverty line attending college versus not attending college. My school is a "No Excuses University" charter school and so we are trained that it's our job to prepare every child for college. This is an idea that I have had in my head before coming to the school that the school has really fostered and grown that idea into a philosophy for me.
During today's training I learned just how bad it can be when students don't go to college. I learned that the students who are below the poverty line that don't go to college are more likely to commit suicide and go to prison and those who do go to college. I also learned that students who are below the poverty line get the idea and believe that college is too expensive for them and they can never afford it but in reality it costs more to pay for an inmate in state prisons then it does to pay to go to college. The guest speaker showed a slide that in 2011 it cost $42,000 a year for a high school graduate to go to Pepperdine University in California but it cost $87,000 a year to maintain the same person in the California State prison!!! This is absolutely shocking to me! It also makes me wonder if they're serving fillet mignon to our prisoners. But nonetheless it really lit a fire under me to really explain to these kids that every one of them can go to college and be anything they want to be if they motivate themselves and work hard.
Being a mother myself I want to instill this motto into both my kids. Just because I'm a teacher doesn't mean that they have to be a teacher. But as teachers, and really just as a human race, sometimes we look at the child of a truck driver and say "oh the student is the son of a truck driver so that's all he's going to amount to be". This is not fair to the student and a terrible attitude to have as an educator and human being yet somehow we have all found ourselves in that situation.
When I first arrived at my school this time last year I was completely blown away with the clientele on the type of students that I was going to be teaching. I had taught six years in Oklahoma in two different types of teaching situations but neither of them were anything like this. And I felt very confident in my teaching abilities but I didn't feel very confident in the way that I was going to approach this type of student clientele. in fact several times at the beginning of the year I had the same thoughts about the student thinking "oh well their parents are sitting at home not doing anything so that is probably what they're going to do when they grow up". I thought that and didn't give it much after thought after that. It wasn't until around October that I realized that was a bad attitude and I was thinking about it all the wrong ways. I had a conviction of some sort in the education field and I decided I needed to turn my attitude around.
Since that time last year I have been a completely different teacher inside and outside of the classroom within my school. In fact I actually enjoy teaching this clientele of students. They're not near as Welthian Britt to some of the students I've taught during my six years in Oklahoma yet they have a spirit about them that never seen before. And sure there might be fights in the hallway and they might break some rules no and then but when you speak to them they look at you straight in the eye and they say "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am". Its a different type of respect than what I have seen in years past.
After today I have not only relit this flame that I developed last year in October I have started a massive fire. I cannot wait to get back to school and really help these kids on a one-on-one basis and help them understand that if they put their mind to it they can achieve anything. Even the students who they're only meal comes from our breakfast and lunch that is served during school, they too can go to college.
I don't go back to school till October 29 but let me tell you on October 29 Mrs. Davis will be in that building helping those students achieve their goals and you know what… I can't wait!!
God is good… All the time!