Louisville Magazine

DEC 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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46 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 12.18 to the forefront. One of my friends is running, Ronel Brown (a retired reghter and now an instructional assistant with JCPS, who lost in the November election subsequent to this interview). Part of his platform is involved with saving education. I think that's why you're seeing more teachers, rst-responders, engaging in the political process. Some of the teachers in the building went to the protests. I didn't, but everyone is shaken by it. When you give all that teachers give to the profession, and for someone to say you don't deserve a pension, you don't deserve to be cared for, it's hurtful to educators." Can you talk about being an International Baccalaureate school? "…e bar is set very high for them. …e kids want to feel like that bar is high. From the moment I stepped foot in Ather- ton, it was very obvious to me that the kids in the building — even the ones who weren't in IB or AP classes — were proud to attend this school. One of the things we wanted to do is make sure our incoming freshmen understood what it meant to be IB. When we look at the IB learner prole, the students are balanced, good communicators, knowledgeable, open-minded, re‰ective, risk-takers, thinkers. We're really trying in the freshman academy to see how they t into those categories. What did you do today that made you a risk-tak- er? Why is it important that you did that? When the kids here see that you're not just looking at them as a student, but as a risk-taker going out into the world, a positive global citizen who's making change, it changes the atmosphere. …e kids feel a sense of belonging and purpose." Have you seen major changes in kids through the years? "…ese kids are growing up in a world — they were born after September 11th, mostly. I don't even know how I'd deal with that world. Because I'm older — I mean, I didn't even have a cell phone in school. If we don't teach these kids how to be a positive in‰uence, we're really doing them an injustice. "It's forcing me to grow. I'm having to get with it in the 21st century. I'm having to learn new technology, and it's not easy for me. Kids have access to the world. Internet, phone, social media. I have to be able to keep up with that pace. It can be a beast sometimes. Especially when you're teaching kids who don't nd reading the most appealing. It's hard to get kids to slow down. "But I'm trying to teach kids to slow down and read more closely. We've been in such a habit of trying to read a lot very quickly. Kids get rushed even on timed tests. I'm trying to get kids to look at the reading in smaller chunks, to interact with the reading. For example, right now my students just nished learning about allusions. Rather than teaching about allusions and looking for them in the text, I want them to think about why an author would use allusion. What would be the pur- pose of using this? What if the author hadn't done this? How would that change the text? I teach them to stop and interact with the text, so they can really focus on it. "I had a young lady at the beginning of the year who admittedly said that she just wanted to sleep; she didn't want to read. I started talking to her about some of her interests — TV shows, movies. I pulled her a stack of books. I'd have her read a paragraph of some of the most exciting parts in the books, so that she could see where it was going. I think she told me the other day she was at ve books, which, for November — that's amazing. …is was someone who was adamant about hating reading. I'm really proud to help a student feel more comfortable. I've set a goal for every kid to work toward reading 25 books by the end of the school year. She may not read 25 books this year. She may — who knows! I can't wait to nd out." JAMA VOGT 17 YEARS TEACHING ATHERTON HIGH SCHOOL NINTH GRADE Why did you become a teacher? "It's interesting, because I remember, even as a little girl, setting up my stu›ed animals and teaching them the things I'd learn at school. Even as a kid, sometimes in class there were times other kids wouldn't be catching on, and I felt like I could help them. …e teacher would always ask me to help other kids. I've always had that interest in me. I love to read and write, so the idea that I could work with students and help them become better readers and writers was appealing to me." What were some of the best tools you picked up as the resource teacher? (Vogt teaches freshman English and leads Atherton's newly created freshman International Baccalaureate (IB) Academy. She has held several posi- tions in JCPS, including as a district resource teacher.) "You know, when you step back and look at a classroom through a di›erent lens, when you're not the ožcial teacher anymore, you just notice things. I'd notice teachers who made sure that every single student's voice was heard, even students who didn't feel condent and didn't want to share. It's so easy to call on the hand-raisers. Watching people make their students feel condent and understand chal- lenging content, being able to step back and have time to have the conversation about lesson design — it made me make sure that my own lessons are challenging, that I'm providing good interventions for students who aren't getting it. Am I di›erentiating so that the students who get it are being challenged, and those that don't, can? It's funny: I don't teach a le cabinet of lessons. I don't use my lessons from year to year. I don't want to become that teacher who's using the same yellowed copies. Every year to me feels like a new year. I may teach the same text, but I'll always try to approach it a little di›erently."

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