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Back in HIGH SCHOOL, what type of student were U and what would U have done differently? (4712 hits)

This week I was substituting for a high school Algebra teacher.
In our state Algebra is a graduation REQUIREMENT.

So there is a wide variety of skills, abilities, talents and gifts all comingled in one classroom.

Today, we were in the computer lab where they had the opportunity to APPLY concepts to various internet sites that had algebraic games.

I made an interesting observation.

Because it was in INDIVIDUAL go at your own pace activity, they were FREE to BE THEMSELVES.

2 white males and 1 white female FLEW THROUGH the exercises.

My black females were struggling but whenever I tried to give them the SAME level of coaching that I gave to the other students, they quickly shot me, "I got this! I got this! I am o.k." Yet they STRUGGLED. U could tell because they were STUCK on the same screen constantly getting the answers wrong.

My black males were very unsure of their ability to CHOOSE correct responses. So they would just sit and try to guess thinking they could "outsmart" the software and MAGICALLY WIN the games. NOT!
With 1:1 coaching, they saw that they didn't need to just randomly GUESS but to confidently walk through the STEPS and ARRIVE AT A LOGICAL ANSWER. I had to keep reminding them...THERE IS ONLY 1 CORRECT ANSWER. U CAN DO THIS! Just slow down, go through the steps. BAM!
Once I showed them 1-2 examples, they began to fly through the screens.

My white females would listen to me 1:1 coach them through the same steps and yet when I would return...they too would be STILL trying to DO THEIR OWN THING and STUCK on the same screen. DUH?

The remaining white males seemed to think they were just dumb and couldn't do the work...UNTIL they saw the black males who normally clowned around gain confidence and begin jumping past them on the screens-LOL! THEN they ASKED THEM for help-HA! HA!

It was just a very strange dynamic. It appeared that the BLACK MALES actually unwittingly SET THE EXPECTATION for the majority but those STAR STUDENTS confidently rocked and rolled REGARDLESS OF WHAT ELSE WAS GOING ON IN THE CLASS! As if THEY KNEW THEY WERE BRIGHT AND DID NOT NEED ANYONE TO BOOST THEM, COAX THEM NOR ENCOURAGE THEM.

I truly believe in my heart that the black males could DO SO MUCH MORE if they were almost in a class by themselves.LOL

As for the "discounting" of my advice from the females (black and white)...seems like a waste but can't really decipher the "WHYs"? If they could see the others getting RESULTS....why would they reject obviously ACCURATE coaching tips?

I am VERY THANKFUL for the wonderful group of high school students I had the blessing and pleasure of teaching this week. THEY keep me striving to LEARN SOMETHING NEW AND DIFFERENT.

If U could reflect for a moment, what type of student were U in high school and how can I help these kids make the MOST of this phase in their lives?

Posted By: Joan E. Gosier HBCUkidz.com
Friday, March 6th 2009 at 11:04PM
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OMG-lol, sounds to me like you already mastered the skills to help these kids make the most of their experience in high school. Just keep pushing and coaching (and laughing).

Our kids are the indigo children and they get bored easily and that is why they get stuck. They learn faster from each other. So just show one and let him ignite the others and make it a music game. I love doing that....tell them to study the lesson to music by changing the lyrics to the lesson content and emphasize being creative. In class, they only need to remember the music they chose and the lesson content will come automatically---remember that always with our indigo children who are bored silly with America's stagnant curriculum. This will also alllow the regular students to blossom.

I was a last-minute get it done kinda student. There was just so much fun in the bathrooms...lol. I also worked in the front office which gave me access to help my fellow students even more.

I was also the SGA Vice President and newspaper editor so I stayed on top of what was going on around me and let the folks know. Hey, it was high school that I painted my book cover....LOL--now ain't that awesome.
My high school was formerly all-male until I arrived (first female class) so it was wonderful making changes around the castle!:)-
Saturday, March 7th 2009 at 7:12AM
agnes levine
Agnes, I think U are on to something! I will strive to DO just that! THANK U SO MUCH FOR RESPONDING. I must have posted this a zillion places and yours is one of the only responses! GOD BLESS!
Saturday, March 7th 2009 at 10:07AM
Joan E. Gosier HBCUkidz.com
Here is a comment I received from another forum I posed the question to.:

QUOTE:"I was an honors student so I worked at my own pace usually (I liked working ahead if the teacher gave a syllabus so I could goof of in class and still get an “A”) , I rarely asked for help and absolutely hated when teachers read over my shoulder ( I don't know why, it just irritated me). I was easily distracted if the assignment was not something I was interested in and would often start writing or doodling and ignore what was going on in class. When I came across something that I was struggling with, I would rather figure it out on my own. It was not pride or fear of looking stupid, but more of the attitude that “this will not beat me”, like a true challenge and asking for help seemed like the easy way out. I loved hands on activities, I actually learned more when we did things in class rather than just listen to the teacher. "

Makes sense on why I was having such a "DISCONNECT" in their refusal of help!

THAT was EXACTLY what I eye-witnessed from the girls in the class. THEY just kept trying to sit there with their pieces of scrap paper and calculators STRUGGLING but STUCK on the same screen!

When I was in school, I was pretty OPEN to NOT WASTE MY TIME. So always willing to learn a NEW WAY of DOING THINGS especially if it gave me the correct results...REGARDLESS of WHO WAS SHOWING ME. Even today, I believe I can learn from my 5 year old. She taught ME who BESSIE COLEMAN was when she was only 2 years old.

So I guess my frustration with the young ladies was , "Why would U rather just be STUCK and NOT ENJOY the rest of the activities that your classmates are experiencing by REFUSING my assistance?"

I could NOT RELATE but these responses provide further insight!

Saturday, March 7th 2009 at 10:43AM
Joan E. Gosier HBCUkidz.com
I went to school in KY where I was the only African American in the Gifted and Talented class at my high school. I was always self-motivated and the subjects were not difficult. I was a member of the gymnastics team, newspaper staff, track team and chess team. I was an honor student and, as others have stated, I rarely needed help from anyone and was often asked by my classmates for help.
I initially entered college as an engineering major, but I changed my major to pure mathematics after a difference of loyalties. I volunteered in area schools from K-12 teaching and tutoring mathematics. On the first day of student teaching, my cooperating teacher had an accident, nothing serious but she had to leave and I had to teach the remaining classes. Although I was surprised, I wasn't nervous since she had her lesson plan on her desk. I introduced myself to the students and let them know that their teacher would be back and that the lesson would continue. The first class went smoothly and, until the class ended, answered student questions. The next period was free and I prepared for the next class. During the next class, the teacher returned and sat at her desk. When there was a break, I offered to return the class back to her, but she declined. She sat at her desk, grading papers, watching her students and observing me teach. After school was dismissed, we talked about what she observed. She looked at me and said, "I have been teaching for over 20 years and I have seen many student teachers as well as seasoned veterans. You had those students focused on you and they asked more questions than normal. To be quite honest, there really isn't anything I can teach you. You are going to be a great math teacher."
I have a suggestion for teaching students to solve 2 step equations. Ask the students to think back to their early grade experiences and recall the "fill in the box" math questions. Set up your 2 step equation. Beneath the variable term, put the box in its place and ask the students to fill in the box with the correct answer.
Now set the variable term equal to the boxed answer. Now the students should be able to answer the following, (the coefficient) times what equals the boxed answer.
I would also offer this suggestion for frustrated students that don't want your help. Ask the student where they are having problems and offer ways of thinking about it instead of the steps. It is the dialogue that they need, not the follow the steps approach. Believe it or not, they really are thinkers. During class, I would play jazz music in the background, especially during their weekly exams.
I would offer you and any other teacher or parent that wants help my assistance. Feel free to contact me. Be Blessed.

Saturday, March 7th 2009 at 7:57PM
George Milliken
In school back then...I was a good student...Meaning; I made A's B's and a few C's. I was quiet, and I was often picked on because I had a darker skin tone. I didn't let that stop me from learning. After 7th grade, my school grades changed to more C's and D's and I couldn't seem to achieve the good grades I had before. I studied harder, but teachers were less helpful. Overall, I feel I did well in school. In advising youths today, I try to encourage them to keep a determination to finish schoo. So many kids give up so easily! They hate to work at finishing anything! As far as manners, and respect--students speak more curse words than I ever have, and do today. They curse openly anywhere! This probably starts at home. When I can I tell them to keep trying to improve their lives thru continued education. I see lots of little kids, and I correct their language skills a lot. I find fewer and fewer listen. However, it does help to try no matter how small. Just advice them honestly, give them motivation and tell them how school has benefited you. You'll find some will appreciate your help.
Saturday, March 7th 2009 at 8:50PM
George, Thank U very much. I will definitely keep that in mind. I actually started out pointing out from a page in their textbook that there were actually 13 DIFFERENT methods that could be used to problem solve and that each of them may find one easier than the other. The list included everything from "acting it out" to guessing! LOL I will keep encouraging them to keep TRYING another process if the one they attempted is NOT WORKING OUR FOR THEM-LOL!
Sunday, March 8th 2009 at 11:19AM
Joan E. Gosier HBCUkidz.com
MIISRAEL, yes I do find that the LISTENING SKILLS are really WEAK and the READING SKILLS are even weaker. I often feel for them trying to follow directions because they cannot read it out of the book and they are often NOT TUNED IN TO HEAR the spoken instructions. When I was a hiring district sales manager, my lowest paid rep would START at $75K. I explain to them that without the requisite skills a person will not even MAKE IT TO THE INTERVIEW FOR THE OPPORTUNITY. Listening and reading are critical to avoid a $9.00 per hour lifetime career.
Sunday, March 8th 2009 at 11:22AM
Joan E. Gosier HBCUkidz.com
Irma that is a wonderful reminder. Obviously we are ALL BORN WITH A GIFT. What would U say was your gift and looking back how did it get nurtured so U did not suffer from being stuck on trying to EXCEL in an area that was challenging for U? I feel that for some reason, it is a CONTROL mechanism to try to make everyone "EQUAL" despite their NATURAL GIFT. When I was in corporate a trick I used to use that worked like a charm was to "HAVE A WEAK STRENGTH". Whenever U had a review, U would have to list 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses. I learned to list on my own 10 strengths. Then I would take the bottom 3 and submit them as my "weaknesses". Then they would set up a development plan to FOCUS INTENSELY on improving in those areas. U couldn't get a decent raise/promotion opportunity without showing improvement in your profile-LOL. So I would work very hard to sharpen these areas and make them even stronger. So I NEVER MISSED A MILESTONE PROMOTION NOR RAISE my 11 years with the company. They would all rave and put in my files how focused on improving my weaknesses I was and how I really took personal development SERIOUSLY-HA! HA!. If I had put my REAL WEAKNESSES...they would have had me TRAPPED for 11 years trying to fix what was a PART OF WHO I AM. So I learned the game of controlling THAT which U can control and making YOUR GIFT IMPROVE THE WORLD AROUND U!
Sunday, March 8th 2009 at 5:58PM
Joan E. Gosier HBCUkidz.com
Irma I just get teary when I reread your responses! WE CAN DO THIS!
Tuesday, May 5th 2009 at 11:50AM
Joan E. Gosier HBCUkidz.com
I was a student in an All Black high school. I was happy, popular amonge my peers and unable to understand Algebra or to spell then and still now(smile)

I am thankful that today what I had back then was not known as it is today...learning disability in certain skills.I have a hard time retaining numbers in my long term memory. I tend to move letters and numbers around from where they really are...

I am so glad for the many, many changes and those to come in actually looking at the individual student and not just pro-con statistics...
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
To answer your question Joan is because having a n unwed birth mother who at 16 gave birth to me and at 10 years old, I lost her in a car accident, and was adobted by a female cousin who taught me two major things...1. I was extra special 2. I was responsible for my own actiions.

I was not very smart in any thing having to do with numbers, but I was a stright "A" student in all other subjects. Because, as you said we all have different things that we excell in, I began to tutor other students in their short comings and they tutored me in my short coming. I have always been in love with learning it self.In those days it was not called tutoring, but looking out for each other.Or doing what mother nature does, COMPENSATE not condemn the other as DUMB or less than.

For example, my husband was classified as dumb when all he needed was eye glasses...and yes, I also have beautiful memories of carrying biscutes to school for lunch. And, I make sure that my grandchildren enjoy all of these storys I have to tell them about "GOOD OLD DAYS"(smile)

Much love and many thanks for this blog.
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
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