By Richard Mead AmeriCorps member, Roosevelt High School
Gene Dean is a 9th grade English teacher at Roosevelt High School. He’s the kind of teacher who makes students feel cared for and wanted in his classroom. He makes sure his students feel capable of doing the work, and appreciates the role of an AmeriCorps member in the classroom. This is Mr. Dean's first year working with AmeriCorps members in the classroom and he is a true advocate for his students.
Q: What is the impact of having a City Year AmeriCorps member in your classroom?
A: I know that whenever a City Year member is in my class, students are getting the help that they need. The most visible way is in the two periods that I have the City Year members in my classroom there’s a lot less behavior problems and a lot higher completion of work. Also, from what I’ve seen, there’s a better sense of community in both of those classes. The kids are actually just friendlier and more open, and are actually enjoying their time in the class a lot more than in the classes where there is no City Year.
Q: How have you and your corps members collaborated this school year?
A: They’ve asked me for feedback on their lesson plans, and I have had really good discussions with them about where students are at in terms of skills. I think, in some way, that the way that I’m teaching the class allows the City Year members to assess what the students need to know. That way, when they go to tutoring after school, City Year knows exaclty what the student’s homework is and how to support them. So I think that the instruction is helping everyone, including myself, know what the kids need.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working with City Year?
A: The support, the community ...Having a City Year makes my job a little bit easier in those classes because I have less to worry about. I also know that wherever the City Year member is at, then that student is getting the help that they need.
Q: What’s one lasting message that you would like to leave to the City Year team here at Roosevelt?
A: Can I get City Year in my other periods?
In terms of what I would like to acknowledge you all for, so far it’s that the promises of having a City Year in my class have been kept true. The tutors in my class have responded really well to what they see in my class and they’ve enjoyed it, as have I. There’s really positive feedback on both sides.
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