Classroom Teacher Gets Students’ Respect

Justin Raisor ’07 – Ms. Wegner (Chicago classroom teacher) informed me almost every student in the class has already been accepted to college and are receiving good scholarships. However, it troubled me very much when she explained to me the situation some of the less fortunate students. Because they are illegal, there are students in her classes that although they perform higher than a majority of the other students, they can not go to college. Because they don’t have identification, they can not apply for FAFSA and or any loans for school.

So, although they are receiving a great education, they are going to work a 6 dollar an hour job, because they can’t further their education. I explained this in our meeting Monday afternoon, but I wanted reemphasize how much this upsets me. It was not these students’ fault they were born in the United States by illegal parents. There is nothing they can do to change that. Yet, our political system, according to Ms. Wegner, has a bill in place that is trying to send these students back to Mexico. Okay, enough with this issue, because it will become a term paper.

Ms. Wegner creates a great classroom environment in all four of her classes. I noticed that in all four periods, there was not “that student” who sat in the back and did not participate. In every class, she did some type of group activity that engaged all the students. I felt this was a great method to ensure that all students were participating. Further, she is great at explaining what she wants the students to get out of activities. She does not just have them work in groups and then assign homework at the end. Rather, she explains to them why they are doing certain tasks. It is obvious the students respect her very much, because she is a very fair teacher. Although having problems with the “regular” students turning in homework, she works with them to make up the missed points.

In the first class I observed, A.P/I.B. History, I noticed the Hispanic and Asian students to not sit together. The Hispanics sit on the left side of room, and the Asians sit on the right side. This was the same trend for the second class also, Urban Studies. Yet, the students engaged in active class discussions that included a majority of both ethnicities, so I can not explain the reasoning for this separation. The students do not have assigned seats, as they moved periodically throughout the class to sit with other people. This is basically all I have for the first couple days of observations.

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