RECENTLY ON TOL:
- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
A current Grant HS (and former Jefferson Summer School) teacher's perspective
Why don't parents want to send their kids to Jeff?
Parents know that deep, meaningful learning is not taking place in many classrooms at Jeff. Teachers at Jefferson, like all devoted educators (and like me), would LOVE to spend most of their time engaging students in meaningful discussions, developing critical thinking skills, and using students' perceived differences to manifest deep understanding. This is what learning is all about, and there are some extraordinary teachers at Jeff. However, the fact is that many teachers can't get into those discussions and engage in meaningful learning because they spend most of their time trying to manage poorly behaving (and, in turn, poorly achieving) students.
Is this Jefferson's fault?
No. Most of the poorly achieving students who are blamed for the current problem were also poorly achieving students in elementary and middle school. It’s hard to get a train to its destination if it starts out on the wrong track.
Should Jeff close right now?
Yes, and here's why. In my experience as a passionate and devoted teacher, when a few poorly achieving (or poorly behaving) students are added to a class of mostly higher achieving students, the most common result is that the higher achieving students set the norms of the classroom, and the poorly achieving students often adapt and latch on to the learning environment. Yes, it is more stressful and difficult to manage for teachers, but that is the challenge that exceptional teachers embrace and overcome.
As a district, this would happen on a larger scale. The Jefferson students, who are statistically low achievers, would become part of larger, higher achieving schools.
Is this the best quick fix for a systemic problem? Unfortunately, I think so. With the funds available is there a better option? No. Is closing Jeff the ideal solution? No. What is the true key to academic achievement? Parental Expectation. Will the current Jefferson HS situation affect my flourishing devotion to provide a meaningful, rigorous, and memorable education to any student who steps into my classroom. No.
posted 2 years, 11 months ago
view in context