Back to school! What emotion does that bring to you? Inevitably, we all feel something when we hear those words. Maybe even a “whah-hooo” slips out knowing that our own kids will be back to learning.
For years as a high school Spanish Teacher, back to school came with mixed emotions. Excitement to be able to start fresh with new groups of teenagers but dread for all the work it entailed. This year is different. As I begin my role as the new Multicultural Student Support Specialist at Moraine Park, I feel more relaxed, albeit a bit confused as I try to put all the pieces together. This smooth piece goes with Academic Advising. This corner piece is Career Services. Here’s a red, white and blue one for Veterans. And “¿oye- dónde está el de los estudiantes latinos?”
These pieces, many of which make up Student Services, are what have impressed me the most over the past weeks as I get to know MPTC. I am delighted to be part of this great team that truly wants to see its students succeed. At the same time, finding it hard to totally discard the teacher sombrero I’ve worn for the past 14 years, I feel frustrated knowing the reality of the slim services that are available to high school students. (Insert sad emoji here!)
High school teachers, administrators and counselors are spread too thin. Last year, I had 150 students with 3 different classes to prepare for. A friend of mine, who is a Speech Pathologist in the Milwaukee area, told me just yesterday, that she has 58 students in her case load this year and will teach 2 classes. Under these conditions, it is very challenging to do your job AND give extra to your students. In addition to current staff being overloaded, there are few people employed as support staff. The results are students who need extra support are neglected. For example, another friend shared over tacos last week that the majority of her remedial English summer school class was disproportionately made up of African-American students.
I can’t help but to wonder what would happen if we were to infuse our MPTC staff into a high school, from a cheerful greeting from Nancy to a kind ear from Kathy reminding them “trust the process.” Surely, the effects would be outstanding. And keep in mind, these students would then become our students complete with better planning skills and a greater self-esteem.
To the end that I am only one, I will relish my time with MPTC’s Latino students, knowing that I can really be present to them, without the anxiety that comes with being ready for the next class.
Get your services here! New students: http://www.morainepark.edu/gateways/future-students (services) Current students: Mymptc.morainepark.edu (student life & services tabs)