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Read a Post for “We Have a Voice”: Using Letters to The Editor to Inspire Civic Virtue and Student Social Consciousness
 
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* speaking voices

Posted By: Jason Schnoll on February 8, 2006
 
I am a substitute teacher in Denver, CO. I spend each day teaching a different subject in a different classroom to students in grades 6-12. As a substitute, I focus on establishing rapport with the students. I say, "We are here together for the day, so let's take advantage of the opportunity to learn from each other."

When I introduce myself and extend my hand to shake and say hello, a student looks quizzical. When I ask what they think about a subject or what they do outside of school, they giggle nervously and look away. It seems that students are expecting an adult substitute teacher to not be interested in what they have to say. The expectation is, perhaps, to be told what to do or "be yelled at."

I encourage students, by giving them my attention and honest feedback, unjudging, to speak their minds in a respectful way. In my classroom, I demand respect and courtesy of everyone present and the materials. Students who are treated simply as young people and not as children--who are heard and respected for speaking respectfully and honestly, are more likely to succeed in the classroom and to develop a greater sense of self-worth. Students need experiences in which they speak their mind in a public forum and achieve dignity... writing to the editor is an excellent platform. Thank you for the suggestion.
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 speaking voices by Jason Schnoll on February 8, 2006  * 
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