Central Standard

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 45°F

From Teachers...

Teachers are on the front lines of Chicago’s dropout crisis. While most high school students struggle with concerns of self-esteem, peer pressure, and lack of motivation; many in Chicago are faced with the added concerns of safety, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, and gang violence; creating overwhelming obstacles to their educational success. Teachers here have to do much more than teach lessons about Shakespeare or geometry. They have to build reliable lines of communication, encourage healthy choices, create safe environments for expression, develop creative solutions for students faced with serious social issues, and provide experiences that broaden their student’s understanding of their own potential.

Six dedicated teachers from at-risk schools in Chicago volunteered to record their thoughts about the dropout crisis and what they believe teachers can do to make a difference. They talked about the importance of the partnership between educators and parents, and told us what they felt their students needed to be successful: engaging and relevant curriculum, extra-curricular activities and programs that motivate and inspire students to stay in school, and community involvement through mentorship, career exploration, and support. Here are just a few of the things they had to say.

Questions

What do you think is the biggest reason Chicago high school students drop out?

Laura

Anthony

Heather

Samantha

Atinuke

How can teachers help students, at-risk of dropping out, stay in school?

David

Heather

Atinuke

Laura

Samantha

What resources or assistance do teachers need from the community to help students graduate?

David

Heather

Anthony

In the quest to improve graduation rates, who is your greatest ally and who is preventing progress?

Anthony

David

What or who, has most inspired you as a teacher?

Laura

Samantha

Anthony

David

What was one of the greatest moments of your teaching career?

Heather

Laura

Samantha

WTTW recorded these teachers as part of a project organized by the National Center for Media Engagement and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Teachers from across the country have shared their ideas and added their voices to the national education conversation on a website called Teacher Wall, a joint project of Scholastic, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Donors Chose. Visit Teacher Wall to see more teacher videos recorded independently and by PBS stations nationwide.

Teachers, Share Your Thoughts

If you are a teacher, share your thoughts on the dropout crisis with us in the comments below.

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