Sunday, August 30, 2015

I Believe in You

During of the first days of school in my 7th grade math class  I experienced an important moment when a teacher told me how much he believed in me.  During that Math class I remember my previous year's Math teacher, Mr. Kaplan, pull me out of the class and ask me "why" I was sitting in this class. I must have had a confused look on my face because he quickly responded "you're in the wrong class, you're supposed to be in pre-Algebra, I know you can do it".  Whether it was a scheduling era or a some other mistake, he was telling me that I was supposed to be in the higher level math class instead of the class that I was currently sitting in.  Immediately he told me that he was placing me in the pre-Algebra section.  This could have easily been a scheduling error, but I also could have been sitting in a lower level class the entire year if he had not pulled me out.  To me this is less of a story about Math leveling in 7th grade, but more about my teacher telling me that he believed in me.  I never forgot this story and in many ways I became a more serious student after he raised the bar of expectations for me.

As we move into the first days of school, here's to all of the wonderful teachers who set the bar high for their students and know that they will jump over the bar.  Setting these high expectations is the way to closing all achievement gaps.   To reinforce this message watch Dalton Sherman's message to the teachers of Dallas USD on the first day of school.