I teach at a small continuation high school that is home to juniors and seniors. Most of our students are minorities. We have more males than females (both as students and on the teaching staff). Students must have 220 credits to graduate from high school. Many students arrive at our school as 'seniors' still needing over 100 credits. Most are behind grade level in academic knowledge and skills.
The majority of our students are either immigrants, children of immigrants, foster youth, parents, homeless, recently out of juvenile hall, or living with non-parent relatives or friends.
A number of our students have already attended multiple high schools and almost all have had negative educational experiences. I want my classroom to be a stable, supportive, safe, comfortable place.
I am so thankful for the amazing people that funded my first project! The difference the books, lights, and table made in my classroom is remarkable.
I would like to add another high table where students can stand to do work.
In addition, I have chosen folding chairs for class discussion circles, high stools for one of the high tables, and a table with chairs for collaborative work.
Because the tables and chairs in this project provide work space for students during class time, as well as before and after school, and during lunch; they are especially important for my homeless students who do not have a comfortable and safe space to do work or to relax outside of school. The traditional classrooms at my school do not provide the inviting and home-like environment that is particularly beneficial to our school's homeless population.
The open and non-traditional seating arrangements have inspired these at-risk teens to collaborate, create, work, and learn with more enthusiasm and engagement than when my classroom was traditional. I am so encouraged by the changes I've seen in my students, I want to get enough alternative seating that I do not have to have traditional desks in my classroom. I want every student to have a positive, empowering, and unique workspace.
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