Sunday, January 29, 2006

Turning My Lessons on Myself

I forced my Honors students this week to consider what is most important them, and what they would do to achieve it. I'm glad that some of them found it useful, but it left me feeling like a hypocrite. How can I preach to them to follow their morals when I largely ignore what's important to me? In the words of one of my own students, I find myself too often in "an ocean of doubt." When I came to Arapahoe, I left behind my dedication to a certain population of students. I think I've been trying to erase everything that reminds me of Manhattan.

I've decided to try to reconnect to those kids--the ones I still I think about almost everyday--by volunteering. This weekend I explored several tutoring opportunities involving at-risk kids and hope to get started soon. Some of the organizations are looking not only for adults, but for mentors who are teenagers themselves. I have some students who would be outstanding in this, but I don't know the details of how I could possibly get them involved (this is assuming that they would even be interested). If anyone has any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated.


Blogger Karl Fisch said...

I would suggest two things. One, check with administration about any procedures within the district. Two, assuming you get past step one, is make sure you contact the parents of any students who get involved and - unfortunately, for liability reasons - get a signed "permission slip."

Down the road, you might consider trying to connect these at-risk students with some of your classes here, possibly through blogging (assuming the at-risk kids are in school). I think that could prove very beneficial for both "groups" of students, and for the world at large.

On another note, this is really cool. My only worry is that the end result of my dragging you into this 21c project will be that you end up leaving AHS for more noble pursuits. That hardly seems fair to me and - after all - it's all about me, not the kids!

7:45 AM  
Blogger MollyG said...

I like the idea. I'm sure you could get quite a few of us to help out with this project, I would definitely be interested. These types of things are almost always beneficial to both groups. They usually have as much to teach us as we do them.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Ashley M said...

I agree with Molly. But I do also agree that there would have to be some kind of parental permission involved. To some parents, it is a great opportunity for their kids to help, but for others they may be scared. It really depends on who was willing to do it, and I think it sounds interesting. Right now I mainly help out younger children at libraries and I think it would be interesting to help people my age.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Barbara S. said...! Karl's advice is really good. Parent permission forms AFTER administration approval (I would begin with John Biner or Rob Routh). It is admirable that you are looking for a way to reconnect with at-risk kids. I have been working at an alternative night high school in Douglas County for 3 years and I LOVE it. It is my way of returning to my roots now that I am nearing the end of my career. It is so different than AHS. Not that one is better than the other; it is just that they are different in so many ways. Maybe you would be interested in getting paid for teaching at risk kids? Karl is going to be mad if you leave AHS, but you could teach alternative kids AND teach at AHS :-)

3:20 PM  
Blogger James H said...

I think this is a great idea Kristin. Good luck however far you end up taking this.

3:57 PM  
Blogger annes said...

I thought you knew that any activities you engage in or are at least considering need to be approved by me first. Once again, I am so proud of you.

2:30 PM  

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