Wasi Khan

I wish my teacher knew....

Blog Post created by Wasi Khan on Mar 2, 2018

I wish my teacher knew more about the students in my class.  


In the 7th grade, I knew a student named Phoenix. Even though I hadn’t spoken to him much it was pretty clear to me that he was an at-risk student. Although he would pay attention in class, work his hardest and be punctual he would rarely get above 50%. In the 2 years I knew him, his average didn’t increase and his progress was stagnant.


It was clear Phoenix needed help, and it was clearer that help wouldn’t arrive. Why? With a staff-student ratio of 1:30 and 10 grades each teacher we had taught 300 students. No matter how hard they tried, there clearly wasn’t enough time for every teacher to spend where it was required.


From what I observed, the students that got most of the instructor’s time were those who explicitly asked for it. Those who explicitly asked for it where those who were confident in themselves or their work and were doing so to attain marginal improvement. Those who weren’t good did not explicitly ask for time, and like Phoenix didn’t largely receive any.


Last week before the final exam, Phoenix sat next to me. And we both learned something.


I observed Phoenix through all of the lectures, and his face instantly gave away signs of where he was confused (the difference between diffusion/osmosis). I also observed him do his classwork, and sure enough he was stuck at the question assessing diffusion and osmosis (hint: osmosis involves a membrane). After the class, I casually asked him about the particular question and explained the answer. He did substantially well on the test that week.


I wish my teachers knew the students in their class, as equally as in a one-to-one setting. Everyone cannot afford personal tutors, and with so much technology at our disposal it is sad we haven't solved this problem yet. 


Phoenix, unlike his name, didn't rise from the ashes. He flunked, dropped out, and subsequently disappeared. 


I wish my teacher knew more about the students in my class. I wish my teacher knew what confused Phoenix.