Monday, April 17, 2017

Warm Demanders

Excellence in Education: Warm Demanders
“Warm demanders first establish a caring relationship that convinces students that the teacher believes in them and has their best interests at heart. On the basis of this relationship warm demanders relentlessly insist that all student perform academic work and treat the teacher and their peers with respect.”

I was blessed to work with Mr. Witt as part of my first teaching practicum. Mr. Witt taught at a middle school that was 90% poverty and 90% minority enrollment. Prior to entering Mr. Whitt’s classroom, I had heard only wonderful things about him from my college professors and students who were a semester ahead of me, but I hadn’t heard many details. As an aspiring teacher. Let me just say it, “Mr. Whitt was not what I expected.”

Hearing so many great things, I expected a classroom full of discovery, arts and crafts, hands-on learning, and other warm and fuzzy learning opportunities. I arrived as students were entering his class for second period. He stood stoic at the door, greeting each student with a watchful eye and, Good morning. Mr. (or Ms) so-and-so.

I wondered, “Why is he calling students by their last names?”

What I witnessed over the next 45 minutes was the exact same thing I would observe for every class I was with Mr. Witt. Students proceeded to their seats. They got out their notebooks and  wrote their homework and some other information. One student was then assigned to get the groups flashcards and the students would then study for 10 minutes. This was followed by a usually engaging lecture. Finally, students would work individually on that day’s flashcards and quiz each other once again. The routine was repeated every day unless there was a quiz.

About three weeks into my practicum experience, the principal asked for me and the other college students to come into his office. He asked me, “So what do you think of Mr. Witt?” Seeing my hesitation, he didn’t even allow me to answer (whew!) and he told me the following story:

This is my seventh year at this school. And when I came I brought Mr. Witt with me. What’s been so amazing is to see his transformation. He wasn’t at all like this before coming to Shafer. He changed to meet the needs of the students. He recognized these students needed structure and discipline. Most of these students don’t have a male role model in their lives. They needed stability. They’re still dealing the trauma (a classmate had been raped and killed over the summer). While the students might not admit it, they love him. They might not run to his class with excitement. But you know what? In five or six years, when they’re graduating from high school, he’s going to be the first teacher they come to see.

When I returned to class, I had a new appreciation for Mr. Witt. Like all great teachers, his actions were purposeful. He adapted to meet the needs of his students instead of expecting his students to adapt to him. He understood the academic, behavioral and social needs of his students and acted accordingly. Mr. Witt was a warm demander.

As Salome Thomas-El says, “Children want structure. Children know discipline is a form of love.”

Useful Links:
Friday Activity Calendar (Mentorship/Portfolio/Club Day) : No activity this Friday (Pep Rally)

Portfolio Assistance If you have a student who needs assistance setting up his/her portfolio, click here

Technology / Website Permission Request Form Please use this form to request use of a website that requires student log-in if the site is not already on the approved list. DART approved list

Calendar and Memo Items
A couple of teachers have inquired about our cell phone policy (from the handbook):
What is the school protocol concerning cell phones?
  • Per ACPS policy, the instructor determines how and when electronic devices are used for instructional purposes.
  • Violations of this policy should be handled in the following manner
    • 1st violation: confiscate the cell phone and return it at the end of the period.
    • 2nd violation: confiscate the cell phone, a teacher or another adult brings device to the main office to be “logged”; student may retrieve it at the end of the day.
    • 3rd violation: same as 2nd violation, except a parent is called to retrieve phone.

Friday is a B-day

May 5 will be switched to a B-day

Year-end calendar is here.

April 17: Teacher-Student Improv Night

April 19: Sophomore ring ceremony during MM

April 21: Pep Rally; no activity period
PEP Rally Schedule
1st Period
Mustang Morning
2nd Period
  1st lunch: 10:56-11:26
  2nd lunch: 11:36-12:05
  3rd lunch: 12:15-12:43
3rd Period
4th Period
Pep Rally
Normal CATEC schedule

April 22: Prom (Interested in chaperoning? Please email Ms. Stott)

April 26: Ninth grade field trip (Shakespeare); all day

April 27: Senior English field trip

April 28: Poetry Slam (3rd and 4th periods)

April 21: Rita Taylor (custodian)
April 23: Dan Brown

Worth Your Time

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