Sunday, March 05, 2006

Tuesdays with Cordarro

Cordarro is an interesting student. He comes to visit me sometimes during planning period. He impresses me because although he doesn’t have the best grades, he has already found his passion—hip hop music. Unlike others, he doesn’t want to be a rapper. He wants to take part in the business side of the industry. In our talks, I have found that his exposure has been limited, but his dream has not. He informed me that he has never seen the Mississippi Gulf Coast, something that made me realize the importance of college as an opportunity for him. I received good news the other day. Cordarro, a senior, just got a 16 on his ACT. While he can only enter college through taking summer courses, at least he is going to have the opportunity to go somewhere. Through Cordarro, I see where passion meets opportunity. He inspires me.

My Reward

A reward that I have successfully used in my class is current events/culture Fridays. If students are well-behaved we take a day in English class to discuss national and international news events. Although many of the students don’t usually watch the news, some do. Having the discussion in class makes many of the students realize the relevance of the events to their own lives.
Meanwhile, I have also developed culture Fridays for my Spanish classes. This started out as a reward, but grew into what I view as an essential part of the class. On Fridays, we discuss news articles from the Miami Herald and other sources. These news articles are about what is happening in the social and political world of Latino and Hispanic cultures. Students really enjoy these days because they provide a break from the monotony of everyday language work. Meanwhile, it is important because students are provided a real world context for the language they are learning. The students see first-hand how the language is being used throughout the world.