Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 28 2010

Institute: Student Achievement

So today was my final day of teaching summer school.  I’m definitely left with a bittersweet feeling.  Today I did a lesson on college applications for my students, as they are either 11th or 12th graders, with the exception of a few that graduate tomorrow! I told them about different types of degrees, different types of colleges, how to search for colleges, what to search for in a school, what steps they need to take now (ACT/ SAT)  and how to apply.  Overall they really seemed to enjoy the session and asked a TON of questions.  Afterwords, when we were having our donut and juice party to celebrate their class points and their final, I asked a few of them what they were going to do for the rest of the summer, now that they’re done with school for the summer.  I got a few normal answers, “sleep,” “rest,” etc. but the ones that surprised me (kids will do that to ya everyday) were “look for colleges,”  “register for the SAT,”  “Search on collegeboard,” etc. These conversations made me so excited, what a good end note to the summer!  My collab and I gave the students back their pretests with their finals, which were the same test.  I then told them, these two tests were the same exact thing.  Look at your grade on the pre-test and look at your grade on the final, and see how much you’ve learned.  The students were shocked: One student got a 4 on the pretest and an 85% on the final; Our highest grade on the pre-test was 46% and their final grade was a 95%.  Our student with the highest grade on the final before extra credit got a 98%, and met and exceeded her growth goal, at 135% of her growth goal. Another got a 96%, and met and exceeded her growth goal at 139%.    When I gave an exit slip the other day, students told me 3 things they learned this summer, 2 things they were still confused about and 1 thing that surprised them.. The answers included that they “learned chemistry,” “learned the math part of chemistry” “passed chemistry” or “was able to move on to 12th grade.”  :).  However, although 14 out of 20 of my students met or exceeded their growth goals, 6 still did not.  It is important at a time like this not to forget about those 6 students that didn’t.  Furthermore, 3 out my 17 students did not pass the class.  Sadly, those students failed because they did not attend my class enough in the beginning of the summer, so consequently had too many zeros (which they were allowed to make up) on quizzes and too low of scores on their midterm and finals.  I will continue to ask myself, what could I have done to get them there?  How could I have increased their investment?  How did these students pass other TFA teacher’s classes and not mine?  Why did other students not meet their full potential?  Although I am reflecting critically, I am SO proud of all of my students for getting where they got by the end.  I hope that these children’s lives are improved in SOME way after being in my class.

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    a blog about my quest to end the inequity of science education in America

    D.C. Region
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