Monday, January 8, 2018

Priorities by: Tam Mandanis

My name’s Tam Mandanis and I am currently a sophomore attending Riverside High-School in Leesburg, VA. Besides having school as a full-time job, I am also a soccer player inside and outside of school. I play on a travel team known as Loudoun Soccer and play on my HighSchool’s soccer team in the spring. Soccer has been a big part of my life as I have played it for nearly a decade and my love for it has only grown. I have many practices throughout the week and at times that leads to conflict with my schooling. This leads me to prioritizing my homework using the technique of classes that I care about down to classes that I feel are a waste of my time. With this method, I will do all my work from the classes at the top of my list up until I have to leave for practice and then continue when I return, up until I am too tired. Often, I’ll do my unfinished homework right before I have class, during lunch, or study hall. Truthfully this leads to me doing a scrappy job rather than the full effort I put in my other homework. When I get to class, my teachers only check it for completion rather than for accuracy; and that affects my level of interest in that class. This cycle doesn’t just occur once every couple months or weeks, but rather every single day of every single week.

I’ve come to a conclusion that the classes I put effort into and care about, are the ones where I feel the same if not more level of effort and care from my teachers. I strongly believe that the classroom is an area in which there has to be a balance between the needs of the student and the teacher. Back to my point of effort in school; I am a person who will put time and hard work into things I care about and give back the effort that I receive from my teacher. Another thing that plays a role in my effort is whether I feel respected by my teacher or not. When my teachers give me an assignment that I do, but they don’t grade until a month later or when they don’t check to make sure I am understanding something; I see that as a sign of no respect for the student from my teacher. Don’t get me wrong, I respect my teachers and treat them respectfully even if I feel I’m not getting that same respect back; but that treatment towards me effects how I respond to the work given or the level of effort I give back. For example, my English teacher who has taught me in 7th, 9th, and 10th grade is someone who I have a high level of respect for and who I know has respect for me too. He creates an environment where the students are given choices to do what they want rather than forcing lessons/activities onto us. During freshman year we had to be four separate departments within the class functioning as an office, with my teacher as the CEO. Instead of forcing us to go in a certain order, he allowed us to choose the order in-which we did them. We were also given the choice to work with who we wanted every quarter and plan out the way in which we did things. That classroom set up allowed for freedom, trust between teacher and student, and the learning of a real-life skill. Another teacher who I give effort to is my sophomore history teacher who is without a doubt an incredible teacher. He comes to class everyday enthusiastic and always excited to teach. Every class he’s fully engaged with the students and rather than just lecture, he uses different methods to appeal to every student. He takes feedback and asks for the interests of the students in order to create an agenda that the students will work well with.

I gave 100% effort every class for English and now give that effort to history because I was and am engaged and want to do well. Up until that point, I wasn’t really into English or History and these classes reshaped my thought of those departments. I have a couple classes now in which I feel these same qualities/opportunities being offered to me. These classes often come with real life lessons, and that really helps me which keeping an interest to that class. Teachers who teach me while showing that they care are the ones who’ll be at the top of my prioritization list rather than the ones from which I feel no respect or care. Back to my talking about soccer; I have to have soccer, that’s just a need for me. From how my schooling has been so far, there are many classes that I put soccer over and put more effort into. I know that I won’t be a professional soccer player and know that school should be something that I hold to be more valuable then soccer. I want to help teachers understand how to create a classroom set up where students who have similar feelings to me can find a way to balance their extracurricular life along with their school life and succeed in both paths.

1 comment:

  1. I really connected with your point about teachers who simply check for completion vs. accuracy. It's hard to view our work as valued when there is no feedback about what we did. And it certainly doesn't offer any valuable information other than compliance completion. Great point.