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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Different kids, different strokes, I guess...

So, right now, there are classes going on at my school, I just am not teaching one. It is the equivalent to what summer school is in most districts, but ours is during winter. The kids are making up classes that they failed, for the most part (some make up classes when they get a D, because we are a college prep school, so that is not technically passing). The Fall semester, 29 of my students did not pass (although only 11 of those were actually Fs; the rest were Ds), which means that they needed to make up my class. Since I was not teaching this session, a colleague in my department is teaching the class. Ryan is the only male teacher in the English department, and from what I have gathered from my students last year, our teaching styles are like night and day. This is not a bad thing- we are just different.

Apparently, different was exactly what some of these students needed, particularly the male students, because Ryan just sent me a video of these students giving Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream Speech." While it is true that they were just reciting it, I am still hugely impressed. That is some pretty difficult language, and he got them up there on a microphone, clearly enunciating (for the most part), and really trying to get the point across. This may not sound like a huge accomplishment, but some of the students he got up there I barely ever heard speak the first semester (hence the fact that they failed). One of the students I really wondered if he could verbally string together more than one sentence.

I guess that some kids just need different things to succeed, and Ryan brought those different things to the table.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, I present to you their speech:

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