According to our St Louis educational blogger, students along with teachers are opting for more courses for rewarding opportunities. Opportunities to get grants and other means of helping our children learn and prepare for what is ahead.
Sitting back and reflecting on my teaching career thus far, I became saddened. Not sad for me but for my former students that attended certain public schools.
Looking back on their high school experience, if I were in their shoes, I wouldn’t be as excited about school either.Who wants to go to school for 4 years and do the same 4 core classes every year with art, music and PE as the only electives? It is bad enough that a lot of schools in poverty stricken areas do not receive the same accommodations as county or private schools. The powers that be could at least make sure the children have a wide range of courses to choose from to keep them interested in their academics.
In my last PLC department meeting, we read an excerpt from an instructional book for educators. He stated that most young black men want to become a basketball player or a rapper because that’s one of the only positive images of successful black men that they see. I believe that if students had more diverse school courses to choose from, it could potentially broaden their horizons to other career opportunities to explore in the future. It could potentially keep students out of the streets, more engaged in education and enjoy coming to school. I have lost many students to the streets, from death, jail or becoming strung out on drugs.
All of those children were smart, charismatic and talented, just needed direction. And the one common theme with those kids was their lack of interest in school. And those schools that these kids attended, unfortunately, were schools with no diversity within their choice of courses. Don’t get me wrong, there are kids that come from the best schools with everything you could ask for and still fall of-course but the kids in most city schools are started off with a disadvantage from the beginning.
On a positive note, while working at Sumner High School, the Academic Instructional Coach at that time, Annette Fields-Hayes helped us get a $60,000.00 grant from the Innovation Technology Education Fund. That money was used to remodel the library and convert it into a media center. Sumner also received top of the line cameras and recording equipment for our students. This program has allowed many students to find their passion and has had a positive impact on the school climate. One student in particular now has his own media company and makes a living shooting videos and photography. Prior to the media lab, he did not know what he wanted to do or where he saw himself in the future.
At the end of the day, having more school courses and activities for students creates more positive outcomes in the long run. It keeps students excited to attend school, and it also broadens their horizons to different career choices in the future. It will build! One thing that kept me engaged in school was having different electives to choose from each semester. Electives have always been some of the students favorite courses. It helps them break free from the regular general ed classes they have been taking for years. At the end of the day, more courses also provide more positions for teachers that are looking for employment. If the goal is bettering the children, then every school should take the initiative to make this happen.