Sunday, September 20, 2009

Back to School with the Street Team!

Michelle Ward's Street Team Crusade for September is "Back to School". As a classroom teacher and lifelong learner, I had to step up.

I have not had my own classroom for 2 years but have a (new to me) full time teaching position ~ see the post just prior to this one. The school where I teach is a continuation high school. Students at this school have not been successful in the larger and more traditional school environment. The approach to education for these students at this school is definitely unique and different than any experience I've had before ~ and I've been teaching for 12 years. There are about 70 students total, and I am one of 5 teachers at the school. My primary subjects to teach are Integrated Science, Biology, and Chemistry. I am also teaching 2 electives, Art (YAY) and Yearbook.

Am I learning a lot? You bet! Not only about how the school works, and each of my academic areas, but especially about some of the students. With 70 students there are 70 stories, and AT LEAST 70 reasons why they are here at this school. These students are 'at risk' kids: some are in the court system all ready, some are affiliated with gangs, many have drug abuse issues, and the list continues.

So what are they teaching me?


The common thread I have seen, thus far, is a general lack of being engaged in the system. Many of these students might be considered 'outsiders' on a large high school campus, but at our small school there is a much greater sense of community.

The teachers all meet daily, after the students are gone for the day, and often the principal is there as well. We can all share observations, concerns, and successes. The collaboration is awesome and makes it very difficult for any of these students to be unnoticed or anonymous.

Although overwhelmed at times, I am confident I am in the right place.

My dream as a teacher ~ and as a person ~ is to do my best to make a positive difference in people's lives.

Waiting for this particular door to open, and stepping through, definitely gives me an opportunity to do so.

All of you in blogland inspire this with the constant joy and generosity you share daily.


~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

Wonderful expressive piece Gaye!!! Very lucky kids to have you in their lives!!!

michelle ward said...

Gaye - thanks for sharing your story. What a cool opportunity to be involved in this program. You are strengthening their wings and will fly higher yourself. Even cooler that you get to share art with them too. Bravo!!!

KathrynAntyr said...

What a rewarding opportunity that you have. I remember two years teaching high school and I had the great fortune of teaching graphic design. Many of my students were "misplaced" -- but I found a connection with these young adults. I would find myself exhausted but filled up. Enjoy your time with them. You are making a difference I can tell by the thoughtfulness in your post.

PS -- great collage!

Regina said...

I am impressed with your story. God bless you & may you have a very successful year.

Marlynn said...

You are an angel! God bless you for the important work you are doing. You brought a little tear to my eye. Love your collage and art work! BRAVO.

Julie said...

I agree... really great things are going to happen at your school..what an exciting time to be learning!

Pat said...

Gaye, I was out of touch too your posts about the students! I think you found your niche. Very interesting artwork on your blog. Was just looking through some old ATC's and my all time favorites are yours!