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TEACHER VOICES: Michele Godwin, #6

“Every kid deserves a nice school!”

Michele Godwinfavicon Monday, 1/5/15 – 9:15 am
We are in our beautiful new building!

Today, our first day back from winter break, is our first day in the new space, and it feels amazing. We started off with a ribbon cutting, followed by some words from our principal, a former student, and a city supervisor. So exciting! The kids act like it’s nothing, but I think they feel good in this space, with new furniture and clean walls. And a cafeteria! And a dance studio! And A LIBRARY (still under construction, though)! We have all the things a high school should have, and it feels great. Our message: you deserve this school. Every kid deserves a nice school!

Wednesday, 1/14 – 12:30 pm
Winter break feels like a million years ago. We are back in the thick of school, and the long semester looms ahead. My students are acting out a bit, stressed about the pressures of junior year and how quickly half of it has gone by already. I remind them that we need to work on SAT prep, and that it’s time to start writing their personal statements. The imminence of college and young adulthood weighs on them, and they are cracking a bit.

I’ve seen this before; for many of these kids, LHS is their home away from home. For the several in foster care and group homes, and for the handful who are homeless, our school is the only safe space they have. While they look forward to the freedom of adulthood, they hang on to the comfort and safety of high school life. They revert back to ninth grade behaviors, then scream when they’re treated accordingly. It’s a tough time for everyone.

Thursday, 1/22 – 3:45 pm
Today was tutorial day in advisory, where students work on homework and get help from their teachers. My job is to give them help when they ask and remind them to stay focused on work. At the beginning of the year, I would get extremely frustrated if they were off task or being loud. I’ve relaxed a lot, and they have improved. Now I try to bring some joy to the situation, and use the looseness of the time to connect with them individually. It’s my favorite day of the week.

Friday, 1/23 – 12:15 pm
A wonderful surprise! The LHS library has received a donation for EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS! What a wonderful surprise! That means we are well on our way to our $60,000 goal. Such great news.

It’s time to make my LHS Library Donation Thermometer. I’ve always wanted to make one of those! favicon

Ed. note: Michele Godwin is in her 14th year of teaching high school. She’s back at Leadership High School, where she taught from 2001 to 2008. An English teacher by training and experience, Michele has changed her focus to build a library for Leadership. In addition to her fundraising and library organizing, she is an 11th grade adviser. These are her musings from the past few weeks, her sixth contribution to TEACHER VOICES. Please donate so Michele can buy more books!

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