School isn’t a walk in the park for me, but it’s not excruciatingly difficult either. Despite this, I never really had a future in STEM. I can’t pinpoint it to one moment or person but it’s a combination of absence. The absence of one on one tutoring, resources, supportive teachers, and the overall lack of communication.
In middle school I was in an honors class that focused on math and science. I had four hours dedicated to algebra and earth science daily for two years. My teachers prepped thirty honors students to take two regents at the end of eighth grade. We were a year ahead of the rest of the school. Regents normally begin in high school.
Math and science have never been my strong suits, but during the four daily hours of lessons and studying I became more comfortable. I strongly contribute it to my teachers’ diligence, their teaching skills, communication, and endless support.
The weeks leading up to the algebra and earth science regents, my class stayed after school practicing on past regents exams. I initially had low test scores, but through practice, studying, and one on one help from teachers, my scores rose. I scored high eighties on both the algebra and earth science regents. It was the first and last time I scored well on math and science regents.
Throughout high school I wasn’t able to comprehend the science and math material. I barely passed chemistry, physics, geometry, trigonometry, and precalculus. It wasn’t a surprise to me when I failed two math regents and two science regents. While struggling in my math and science classes, I wasn’t met with support. Instead I endured yelling, insults, teachers not taking questions or offering tutoring hours.
It wasn’t until my senior year when I fully communicated with a math teacher again. He was the first teacher in four years who actually cared and took time to tutor one on one. He was kind, funny, understanding, and patient with all his students. I passed his class, but unsurprisingly failed the regents.
Students can become just numbers when teachers don’t communicate with them. The public school system in NYC isn’t the greatest because of the lack of resources, teachers, and the overwhelming number of students. Overcrowded classrooms, and teachers under pressure to have the best test scores lead to communication seizing to exist, and motivation evaporates.
Students, like myself, are left in the dark – not understanding the material as the teacher continues on with their lesson, leaving the confused behind, and then proceeding to get upset when low test grades occur at the end of the school year.
Being a teacher isn’t an easy job. It requires constant attention towards students, who may not even want to be in class, and it’s a job that takes more than it gives. It takes a special person to become a teacher, but it seems more and more people are in it for the salary, and high test grades, than for students who honestly try but continue struggling nonetheless.
Students not only need a teacher who knows the material, and are available for questions and tutoring. But learning students also need a friend and a support system away from home. A line of communication between student and teacher needs to be present in order for both to succeed. There’s a proper way to teach, and although I’m no expert, I have enough experience to know that students deserve better.