Before my observations, I expected students to automatically understand whatever lesson was being taught to them. I thought that for me to understand the way they learned was to know all of the information and to encourage questions and analyzation.
In context to being in History/Social-Science classes, what I realized was that most of these students have to be taught how to read and analyze. They have to be taught step by step how to read through the work. Teachers get interrupted and have to be fast on their toes to be able to know which students have caught on. The methods that we learn during our courses in college, are much more fast paced and have to be re-worked to fit the individual students while also being effective to the entire class.
While I was observing, Mr. Jarmoc had the students do some group work. I sat with two students and was surprised that a junior was unable to form a sentence, read and comprehend the paragraphs even after it was explained.
This was in a class that had a mix of gifted and diverse students. It was hard for Mr. Jarmoc to even know that this was going on while instructing the rest of the groups. Other classes had a different dynamic where there was not an occasion to see a teacher react.
Mr. Jarmoc explained how some students slipped through cracks because of the mixture because he has to go much more slower versus his other US History class. This is of course saddening to me because I would never want students to slip because they are in our classrooms everyday for most of the day.
I don't want to ever have that perspective where I can just give up on my student. This will make me a better educator because I will peruse my students to the best of my abilities.
Diversity and Demographics
I knew that this area was a majority Latino area. It is hard to label and categorize the students, but majority of the students were Latino background.
Bilingual was used in the classroom which I noticed some students did not know Spanish, so they would miss the joke. In my classroom, I would make sure to create a standard of respect for other's cultures and perspectives. There would be a moment of learning for different perspectives.
Interestingly enough, they self-categorize themselves and do not use the Latino/a label.
Some classes embraced the diversity of the students and some did not. There was a class that embraced the Latino culture because it was a Latin American class, but then the U.S. History class would not because the teacher was Polish-American and it did not connect to the lessons.
I really believe that being able to be in a diverse setting is important for me because it is a passion of mine. I did not know that there was such an embrace for the Latin American culture in high schools. I want to make sure that my students become cultural competent beings. This will improve my students as citizens and in my own professional career.