Student Success Podcast No. 8, Nov. 13, 2013
Today’s Guest: J.P. Cassagnol
Now that he’s about to graduate from college, JP discusses his experiences in K-12 and college and how it all fits together to make him the student and person he is. J.P. cuts through the B.S. with excellent critiques of his K-8 and 9th-12 Catholic education, and what worked, what didn’t and, most importantly, what makes a great teacher. In J.P.’s case, those teachers are Brother Martin and Prof. Carlander, teachers who inspired, pushed, and turned JP into a real student with real learning.
An important challenge J.P. brings to education is his K-8 experience, which he found entirely lacking once he came upon Brother Martin’s 9th grade Honors English class. Are we underserving our K-8 children? And what of those kids who didn’t get into Brother Martin’s class?
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J.P. Cassignol is a senior at Salisbury University, Eastern Shore, MD, with a concentration in History. J.P. Graduated from St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., and prior to that was enrolled in a Catholic school K-8 program. J.P. loves history and literature, and he works as a tutor in those and other subjects.
- St. Johns College High School: what’s the “college” thing about?
- JP was not prepared for 9th grade
- his K-8 did not prepare him
- never had written anything more than a few paragraphs
- 9th grade: what do kids bring to it?
- why are elementary schools all so different?
- why should 9th grade be so much harder?
- Elementary: seeking universal standards
- JPs 9th grade was challenging
- Big gap between elementary and high school
- are we pushing kids hard enough in K-8?
- “Excellence Gap” study by Dr. Jonathan Plucker
- J.P.’s school competitive?
- Catholic school admissions: an incestual orgy? (lol)
- Public school kids more prepared?
- depends on the demographic
- are outcomes defined by zip codes?
- Rte 50 / Univ Blvd: the dividing lines
- do charter schools drain talent?
- lowest common denominator v. the cream of the crop
- Was his high school worth the money? maybe not
- Would rather have gone to college twice
- But he did go there, it is who he is
- What if he had gone to public school?
- would have lost all the expereinces of a catholic school
- Brother Martin: English teacher
- heavy workload
- read a book a week
- not reading in class… taking turns lol
- depth of analysis that he had never encountered
- English class was no longer about structure, was about literature
- then next year, teacher was back to reading out loud in class
- so teachers matter?
- should any teacher be able to teach anything?
- JPs definition of a good teacher? Hope Brother Martin is listenng to this
- the difference between a teacher who knows everything but can’t teach and a teacher who may not know everything but can teach and lead you to where you need to go
- why do some kids like certain teachers and others not?
- kids look for easy teachers = business major etiquette
- but they won’t remember those teachers
- a good assignment is powerful
- has assignments from high school that he still thinks about
- Bromley’s best teacher: Prof Wright who threatened to fail him Senior year of college: 1st teacher who ever “kicked my ass”
- Dr. Carlander at Salisbury: they’d get into for 3 hours .. he’d rip up his paper … they’d argue with each other.. inspiring!
- always read the prof’s book!
- knows his stuff: and “a real teacher”
- Prof got JP to write a grant application: got it & went to a national conference >> all because of a real teacher
- What make a good teacher:
- learning is supposed to be rigorous
- “no pressure no diamond”
- teachers who earned respect, who mentor, who respect kids
- unlike teachers who just put notes on the board
- good teachers: challenge, drag, empower
- learning is a fight! “I’m a 13 year old kid, what do I give a shit about Julius Caesar?”
- You could see it in Brother Martin’s brow lines … but patient and caring … loved his students
Host: Michael L. Bromley
Original Music by Christopher Bromley (copyright 2011, 2013)
Background snoring: by Stella
Best Dogs Ever: by Puck & Stella
Here for Puck & Stella slideshow
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