Oct 13, 2010
Life at Hackett Middle school is far from the life depicted on teen comedies and sitcoms. In fact, for all practical purposes, it may as well be a different world here. Budget shortfalls, crowded classrooms and overworked teachers are only a few of the problems facing students at this inner city school. Above all though, the challenge of reconciling the respect of one’s peers and the desire to excel at school, is the most daunting. In an era in which role models are commonly gun toting hip-hop stars and larger than life sports icons, it’s hard to find a reason to learn fractions or the parts that make up a molecule.
However, despite all these challenges, there is still something completely undeniable about each student who sets foot on this campus: the unmistakable desire to learn. This was exemplified recently with a young sixth grader who approached me after class. On a crumpled piece a paper taken from his back pocket, he asked, “not sure why my answer isn’t coming out right”. Scribbled on this piece of paper was row of exponential numbers added, subtracted and multiplied. “Ahh”, I said, “order of operations seems to be the problem”. After a 30 second explanation, the answer seemed obvious to him. As he left I asked, “so is this for math class?”. “No”, he replied, “just something I’m working on…”.