I teach Science at an urban high school in Connecticut with approximately 2000 students coming from globally diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds with nearly 50% of the student body qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch. Although they may come from different educational backgrounds upon entering my class, all students deserve an opportunity to be successful and compete with their global peers in their future careers. As my students display difficulty at times focusing on instruction for a variety of reasons as they face many challenges common to an urban environment, it is difficult to watch their enthusiasm wane. Unfortunately, these challenges may cause disengagement from the learning process.
As a teacher, I have an amazing opportunity to help students that are eager to learn attain necessary skills to overcome these challenges, but resources are thin and my students could use your help.
With more resources, students will personalize their learning experience and make connections with the world surrounding them. Students will bring different strengths to the table while working collaboratively to analyze data and experiment hands-on. My goal is to create a more student-centered classroom where they are engaged, excited to attend class and empowered to take ownership of their work.
It has been said that physical clutter increases mental stress. My students need to be in an environment that reduces stress as many students have a variety of outside stresses that come with living in an urban environment. The stresses of home finances among other things make focusing on schoolwork difficult at times. I hope to provide my students with some basic supplies that they otherwise may not have access to. Most of my students need to utilize the time at school as completing assignments at home can be difficult. Having an organized place to keep their supplies and a calming corner to work on their assignments will be beneficial.
Any means to eliminate their stress due to any distractions is giving them the opportunity to step closer to successful completion of their work and the opportunity to rediscover the joy that being engaged in work provides.
To help reduce stress, I plan to place aromatherapy diffusers in the various calming corners and provide students with clipboards so that the students can choose how to work. Some students pace to reduce stress while others choose to sit at a comfortable chair or desk. Giving students a choice on how to work with flexible seating has helped increase their focus and I plan to use these organizational and stress reducing tools to help them reach their goals.
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