Ellie’s Eighth Grade Endeavors, Episode 1: Democracy Coaches Learn Too

October 15, 2015


GC’s very own FAO Schwarz Fellow Ellie Sanchez is currently teaching the GC Core Program to an 8th grade class at the Joseph Lee K-8 School in Dorchester, MA. While Ellie’s primary job is to be Boston’s Program Associate, she’s also stepped into the shoes of our Democracy Coaches to teach a GC class for the first time. Each week, Ellie will be sharing with us stories from the classroom: lessons she’s learned, updates on her class’s project, and much more. Enjoy!

October 15, 2015: Democracy Coaches Learn Too

As someone who’s supported and worked with many students in Boston Public Schools, I went into my class ready to teach Lesson 1 with an “I’ve got this” mentality. That cockiness was quickly shut down as I struggled to get through the lesson with students talking over me the whole time. After class, I talked to my partner teacher, and began reflecting on what I could do to prevent this from being a norm on GC days. Through my visits, I observed that often when students tried to speak out, they were limited by school discipline policies which condemned those actions. However, through reading my students exit tickets, I realized that they had incredible things to say about community issues that affected their lives, such as the Black Lives Matters movement. As an incentive, I started Lesson 2 by giving my students “shout-outs” and praising students that worked hard on their responses as a way to empower their voices, and reframe how speaking out can be a positive thing. As a result, Lesson 2 emerged a successful and productive class. We’re here, we’re heard, and we’re ready for action!

-Ellie Sanchez

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