Wednesday, February 17, 2010

City Academy

Well, as promised here is a little vision of City Academy, the charter school where I teach part time. If you watched the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and saw these guys, then you already have a pretty good idea of what my students look like.

While I am enjoying my classes and I like many of my students, it is extremely different than Mountain Ridge Jr. High in Highland where 90% of my students were BYU fans and didn't like homework on Mondays because they have FHE. At City Academy I have two students who have been kicked permanently out of school for smoking and distributing marijuana on school premises (seven students were expelled total in the incident, I happen to have two of them). Another one of my students was kicked out of school for a much more serious felony offense against another one of my students. I have only been teaching for one month.....what will things look like at the end of five months? There are only 190 students in the school and an average of five are suspended each week for different offenses.

Did I mention that we don't give grades? Well, not in the traditional sense. You can receive an initial, reaching, solid, or expanded grade. These are not supposed to translate directly into A,B,C and D grades. They are supposed to be a better indication of a students academic progress. Whether that is true or not I can't say. It still seems like categorizing to me, so what's the difference really?

I feel very out of place at the school, especially as all my coworkers cluster around the espresso machine for their daily cups of fresh brewed coffe and the smell of smoke clings to most of the students and even some staff. It is very different than gathering in the faculty room and discussing the upcoming general conference, or the latest in church news as often happened at Mountain Ridge.

Different doesn't always mean bad, and I am enjoying the experience of teaching in this environment. It will round me out a little I think, and I enjoy all my co-workers who are friendly and welcoming and make me feel a part of the community, even if I am different.

I guess I'll just see where things lead me from here.


Kandis & Derek said...

Mandy thanks for updating Brian's blog so I can follow this one now as well :) I am one of his old high school friends.
And good luck with the students sounds like you have your hands full. You'll have to get pointers from Brian, we did after all graduate from the most ghetto of high schools around (jk but thats the rep we had)

Emily said...

I love your description. . .are you sure you're in Utah???? Keep us posted - I'm sure you'll have quite the teaching stories with that crew!

Brian Porter said...

No really I had to go to a anniversary dinner thingy for city academy and the kids all looked they just came from a Marilyn Manson concert. So scary....