Robert Lynn Green
- I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.
Saturday, January 04, 2014
Monday, January 6, we begin the Spring Term 2014 at Oklahoma Centennial Middle/High School. This will be a crucial, really a "make or break" year for our school. This term is the last in our School Improvement Grant, the money given to us to "turn around" the school from its "failing" ways. So far, the results have not been all that positive, though there are some positive signs.
On the state department of educations "A-F" report card, we rose from a "D" grade to "D+". The feeling is that we will have to show much more improvement for the school to remain as it presently exists. If this does not happen, we all face the possibility that we will need to apply for new jobs next year. I am not going to borrow trouble. I have enough to deal with right in front of me.
The district chose to send our principal, Charmaine Johnson to another school. Ms. Johnson did wonderful work during her two and a half year tenure. She helped me improve my teaching methods and taught us the importance of relationships in working with our students, among other improvements. But it was judged that a change was needed, perhaps more than anything else to impress on us the seriousness of our situation.
There are many things beyond any teacher's control. Those things I can't worry about. There is a need in front of me. The young lives in my classroom need to know how to read, write, speak, and think well to succeed. Our goal as a school is to increase STUDENT achievement. All things that do not lead to this are distractions.
Thursday, January 02, 2014
|Hotel that was the site of the Battles of Ingalls|
|Other building from the Old West in Ingalls, OK|
|Oklahoma Historical Marker detailing the battle.|
Another building of interest to us was the old school building in the town. This was in much better condition than the rest of the building making me think that it is still in use for one purpose or another.
Skylar found a friend while we were there.
|Skylar and friend|
Wednesday, January 01, 2014
When I finally got the results, it turned out that over 80% of them has passed their EOIs. When the non-full time students were factored out, it turned out that 80% of the full-time students had passed, the highest scores in the school's history.
While I did not feel that I was the sole factor in this result, I did feel a great deal better about myself as a teacher, and it seemed to make all the difference to my morale and approach to teaching at Centennial. I felt that if there were one thing that made a difference, it was the fact that I had begun to develop relationships with the students that has deepened over the months. I have tried to help students celebrate their time in the school by cheering their victories and commensurating their losses.
I also had much help from many of the consultants who came to aid our schools. The best advice they gave me was to go with my instincts to perform for the students. I have always felt that teachers are to some degree actors, and that I needed to "sell" what I the knowledge I wanted them to master. That freed me up to become a knowledge salesman, and that helped to get them involved in their learning.
As I face this new year, I will continue to do what I have done. We have some changes coming on in our school. We will have a new principal starting on Friday. The students are expected to show improvement over last year.
Who knows what the state or district will do with our school. We will just have to carry on and remember that the only ones who really matter in all this are our students, our future.
Happy New Year!