My students are great! I teach at a non-selective charter high school in Chicago, IL. It is free and open to all students. Because of this, we have a student population in which almost 75% come from low-income households. Our students come from all over the city, which makes our school culture and environment richly diverse.
I truly believe the words of Jaime Escalante - "If we expect kids to be losers they will be losers; if we expect them to be winners they will be winners." They rise or fall, to the level of expectations of those around them, especially their parents and their teachers.
I teach Honors Geometry to our top high school freshmen, with the hopes that they will reach AP Calculus their senior year. Historically, we have low numbers of students pass the AP Calculus exam. As a result, there's been a lot of talk around the idea of having an "AP mindset" at our school over the past year and even though my class is not an AP course, I see myself as their starting line to reach that AP Calculus finish line.
I've been teaching at home since March 2020, and although it has been difficult I have learned so much! As a math teacher, seeing my students work and giving feedback is a priority. In a virtual setting this has been difficult, but it's forced me to get creative and utilize new resources. One new resource that I have grown to love is a Google Slides extension called Pear Deck. It allows me to make slides in my presentations interactive so students can show their work. Ultimately, I can display the slideshow on my laptop and be able to view student work (without other students seeing it) on a separate device or screen. I also have the ability to display student work - the equivalent to being in-person and using white boards. If I had an iPad and an Apple Pen I could finally teach from anywhere in my classroom. Now that my students all have devices I could continue this practice while I am walking around the classroom, no need to stay behind my laptop. Instant accessibility and freedom to float around my classroom. With COVID restrictions probably still in place this fall, it will also allows me to see their work without moving around the room if I am not able to do so just yet. It has also been a dream of mine to be able to take notes from anywhere in my classroom. This year I also have been utilizing an app called Notability. I write on an iPad and share my display using blue tooth capabilities on my computer. No more having to sit in front of the classroom and provide direct instruction, I can literally do it from anywhere - freedom to float!!
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