How Hope and Faith are Necessities in Teaching

There are many tools that educators use to enrich the minds and lives of their pupils.  We use cleverly constructed lesson plans, the most effective teaching methods, and the latest technology in the classroom.  We think of everything and anything that we can think of that will help our students learn.  On top of that, we pour our minds, hearts, and souls into our craft.

In a few days my students (along with many other 10th graders) will be taking the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).  It is the test that every public high school student in California needs to take in order to earn a high school diploma.  It comprises of an English and Math exam.  If they don't pass, they can't graduate.

I have many students that will pass with no problem (especially the English section), but there are others that will struggle to pass.  These are the students that have struggled in school, been continually absent in class, suffer from low academic self-confidence, or recently moved to the US and English is a new language to them.  They are the ones who try to pass without much optimism.  Many of them have taken the test before and each time they don't pass, they lose hope.  Every day I use every ounce of my heart, mind, and soul to find a way to inspire them to really try to pass the CAHSEE and eventually move on to bigger and better things.

My students come from a community that suffers from high levels of poverty and flourishing violence.  It is common for people to have friends and family on welfare, trapped in drug addiction, or have no high school education.  My students who come from backgrounds like these seem like they're doomed to a tragic path laid before them, but as their teacher, I have hope for them.

Believing in the possibility of something in the face of impossibility or improbability is the real power of hope.  No matter what past evidence may negatively suggest, I have to have hope that my students can succeed.  It's a vital part of being an educator.  If I have no hope for my students, then I shouldn't be there. 

For the past few months I've really been pushing my students do well in all their classes, but I've been especially preparing them to pass the CAHSEE.  I've been utilizing the most effective lessons and teaching strategies in class.  Also I've been in constant communication with their parents and their other teachers to ensure that they don't fall behind or plan additional tutoring sessions to work on their reading comprehension, literary analysis, and writing skills.  I have faith that all my hard work, long hours, blood, sweat, and tears will be worth it. 

Hope and faith are essential tools in my classroom.

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