Friday, August 1, 2008

Gearing up for school

I finished teaching one week of a two-week summer session at my new school. The summer session is designed to prepare the students (high school freshmen) for the rigorous material they will see during the school year, and for the college entrance exams they will soon be taking.

My school is an Early College High School. According to the website, "the schools are designed so that low-income youth, first-generation college goers, English language learners, students of color, and other young people underrepresented in higher education can simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree or up to two years of credit toward a Bachelor’s degree—tuition free."

The students will be taking many of their classes for dual high school and college credit. When they graduate high school, they should have between 48 and 60 college credits. They need to pass some college entrance exams in order to be eligible to begin taking the dual credit classes. The ECHS concept is very new—only six years old. There are currently about 160 ECHS schools nationwide. My school is opening this fall with about 104 9th graders.

I was very pleased with the performance, attitude and behavior of my students. The vast majority of them are very motivated to succeed. Their parents/guardians have demonstrated a commitment to be actively involved and supportive of their children. You can tell that these students have a goal in mind, and understand that they need to work hard to achieve it. They're still 14- and 15- year-olds with typical issues for that age group. But they're starting to "get it." They're beginning to realize that this is a huge opportunity for them that they might not otherwise get.

Teaching in this environment has so far proven to be a good experience for me, as well. My principal keeps me on my toes, and pushes me beyond what is comfortable. I don't always like to be pushed, but I can see in this short time ways that I have grown as a teacher because of her coaching and modeling.

I'm very curious to see how the Lord uses this experience, and I'm still amazed at how God started me on this teaching journey.

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