Mr. Kim, a Teach for America novice in Washington, D.C., tried to explain to JR that he needs to do much better to pass summer school and move on to 10th grade. Asked if he’d review for the final, he said “probably.” After all, he said, did George Bush pass a law about not leaving anyone behind?
We explained that NCLB was about schools and not individual students.
. . . JR didn’t buy it. He expressed his confusion: “Well then why do they still call it ‘No Student Left Behind’?”
We told him we didn’t know.
Mr. Kim also is trying to help LA, who never learned to sound out words phonetically.
He told me after our session that when he “reads” he looks at new words and compares them to the limited set of words he already knows and sees how they are similar. Based on this familiarity analysis, he literally “guesses” what a word might mean. He told me he never actually sounds out new words because he doesn’t know how to. So, when he sees “America” he often says “Americans” since he is more familiar with the latter word and doesn’t actually “read out” the former.
These students were left behind years ago.
Teach for America teachers are finishing their summer training — four hours of sleep a night seems to be the standard — and heading to their teaching assignments. Here’s a link to their blogs.