Teaching Great Students

Above: Section B of Advanced Placement United States History Students (h/t: Alysa Lejeune)

I must admit that I have it good; I teach 4 sections of advanced history courses with students that make an effort to get to know me as much as I get to know them; since my first year of teaching after graduate school in 2000, I have spent a great deal of time outside of the classroom getting to know them. I have hosted cookouts and social gatherings at my home, test reviews and meetings with students on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Starbucks, as well as responded “very slowly” to a number of text messages. Unlike many high schools, each student at Houston Christian has an e-mail account making it easier to contact them; however, students no longer use e-mail….Next year I think I will create a class facebook directory. I must thank my high school history teacher, Mrs. Susan Picken, who first introduced the idea of teacher-student gatherings; it was my senior year in which she invited students to her home for an informal social gathering. Moreover, I saw this trend continue as I went to college and graduate school.

The picture above was taken a month ago as my B section of Advanced Placement United States History gathered at Hannah Turner’s house for a pre-review dinner and a study session. Hannah’s cooking is top notch as she hopes to attend culinary school after earning an undergraduate degree. I spent last night with a number of students at the Turner’s who were hosting a Young Life meeting. Again, dinner was provided by Hannah.


8 thoughts on “Teaching Great Students

  1. You cut your hair. Good. Big hair is only appropriate for Marge Simpson and Dolly Parton. And I would tell Hannah that unless she knows what she wants to do for an undergraduate degree (and she probably doesn’t since she’s only 17 or 18), that she should go to culinary school first. I would be better off if I’d figured out what my passion is and followed instead of doing the “right” thing.

  2. Hi Edward,
    That is amazing! I really think these extra-curricular meetings can inspire students much more that the regular class hours. I guess this is something worth trying for me next year.

    I just bought the book ‘While Europe slept’ which I saw on your reading list. What’s your opinion about it? So far I find it fascinating.

    Hope your feel well, health wise!


  3. Frumteacher – It is a great book; in many ways, it is interesting because of the ideological position Bawer must take in order to address the conflict in Europe between a push for a more liberal direction versus the conservative nature Europeans are dealing over the matter of Islam.

    missprofe – I am blessed. I have long thought because of this I would be better in a boarding school; in the end, I passed on that opportunity.

    Kristy – Would you believe me if I told you I had dreadlocks before Christmas break?

  4. Its great to be able to get together with students like that, unfortunatly in today’s climate there are risks as well.

    I was honored a few years ago to be intived to some senior funtions that my students were having. I went to a “mystery” dinner with two of my students. My wife and I were the only faculty they invited. It was quite fun. That’s the kind of experience you really get into teaching for and that no other kind of job can offer.

  5. Pingback: Students of Color and Advanced Courses « The Proletarian

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