- Homework must be able to be completed without a teacher being present.
- Never send a student home with an objective/task that they haven’t shown proficiency in.
- Homework is simply practice.
- Homework must always be a reflection of the standard/objective that was covered that day.
- Homework must be checked first thing in the morning.
Q: As a classroom teacher, do the administrative/paperwork and other assigned duties outweigh your focus on teaching?
A: The national trend in teaching to more clearly document and measure what’s taught and keep teachers accountable could very easily take a significant toll on my mental and physical health if I’m not careful. The planning alone is a gargantuan task, and is constant throughout the year. The daily need to satisfy student, parent, school, and district responsibilities creates a cloud which reduces the energy and excitement that should be present in everything related to teaching and learning. The focus on teaching has taken a backseat to the “checks and balances” which have become non-negotiable. The litigious nature of society has teachers, schools, and districts walking on eggshells as we try to satisfy EVERYONE. In doing so, it’s easy to forget whom we truly come to work for.
Q: In what ways have you found success in turning around student achievement?
A: My philosophy of teaching and education has allowed me to consistently and effortlessly bolster student achievement throughout my career. A.B.C. is my abbreviation for Allowing the Basic Culture of the student to dictate how I assess, teach, inspire, and motivate. Since first stepping into the teaching profession, I’ve always paid very particular attention to the culture of my subject/student. It is only then that I can employ strategies, which are effective and aligned with students’ cultural identity. Often times, teachers are very knowledgeable of the content, but their strategies are ineffective due to the cultural detachment.
Q: Share a success story on student achievement and growth as a classroom teacher.
A: Each year that I have taught, including the current 2016-2017 school year, I have had to remain confident in face of doubt and uncertainty as to the effectiveness of my pedagogy, which doesn’t fit the traditional mold. There has not been a year where students did not excel tremendously, and I credit this to the conceptual framework, which Jackson State University utilizes to consistently produce responsive educators.
2016-2017 marked my first year with Atlanta Public Schools. Hard work and dedication has once again led my students to being recognized for showing the most growth on the Reading/ELA Star benchmark assessment. I’m very grateful for every opportunity that I have to impose positive change. Their minds are buckets, and I have the power to fill them with what I choose. It simply takes courage on the part of the teacher to do what he/she knows is best for the students that he/she teaches.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.