Monday, September 24, 2012

Week's Response: Mr. Rafe Esquith

This blog began as a vehicle for a lesson in finding my voice as a writer in one class, and now it has evolved into a method of responding to the material presented in another. I'm taking a very interesting Diversity in Secondary Education class (EDUC419, UD students,) and my professor wants my fellow students and I to write weekly responses to the themes we're touching on and the material we are learning.

An excuse to sit and write more blogs? Cool.

Informal? Sweet.

We watched a video about the man to the left, Mr. Rafe Esquith, and his approach to educating students. For the normal readers who aren't my professor, here's a quick overview:

Rafe is a teacher at Hobark elementary school. A man with a passion for music and Shakespeare, he teaches his students math and reading skills, teamwork, and confidence through the arts. Examples of this are teaching his students how to play the guitar and putting on a production of Macbeth with them. The vast majority of his students achieve excellence, and he has become very well-known in the academic community. 

I personally really like to act and play music, so his education through the arts really stuck with me. I think they're extremely important, and I really like his attitude of "THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS." I wish I had really internalized this attitude myself in grade school and high school. I was able to get great grades there very easily. It all came easy to me, so I built virtually no study habits. Now I'm struggling in college with keeping all the information and due dates and reading straight. I'm getting by, but I've been forgetting a lot of things and remembering them too late, and I am legitimately afraid that this could kill me later. I am scared that I'm not going to make it.

That's where another one of Rafe's philosophies comes into play. He sets two simple goals for his students: "Work hard and be nice." This is advice that will be relevant for his students' entire lives, and he appears to do an incredible job of getting them to really take that to heart. I know this because working hard and being nice is the only way I'm going to pull myself together and accomplish the goal of being organized that I have been crawling slowly towards for the past few years. Rafe doesn't just give them class goals, he gives them life goals, and I really like that.

Anyone who is having trouble keeping work straight, take the advice my girlfriend Kelsea gave me: Download iHomework if you have an iPhone or an iPad. I'm sure there's a Google Play equivalent as well. As I type this it's buzzing to remind me to visit a professor during office hours to improve a grade on a paper!

Work Hard and Be Nice.
See you next week, everybody.