What made Ms. Jason’s students “come in, sit down, focus, and care about doing well”

In the 2010 work Inside School Turnarounds Laura Pappano studied Taft High School in Cincinnati.  In an informal survey of graduating high school seniors, teacher Jocelynne Jason asked her students…”what made you come in, sit down,focus, and care about doing well.”

What made Ms. Jason’s “come in, sit down, focus and care about doing well”?  Here are the responses from her high school seniors:

  • The desire to succeed
  • It’s our routine
  • That’s what school is for
  • The challenge
  • Good classroom management
  • Organization
  • Everything is connected
  • You’re a mean bi***, but in a good way – tough love
  • No spoon-feeding
  • Repetition of procedures
  • Seniors are mature
  • Structure
  • Something productive happens every day
  • Demand/command respect
  • Comfortable with each other
  • Trust each other to work together
  • We have a goal in mind – college
  • We just follow the pattern
  • Want to graduate
  • You need some knowledge in your brain
  • Understanding and accepting the importance of education

Ms. Jason added her own list to that of her students:

  • I never waste my students’ time.  I am embarrassed to not be prepared
  • I have the support of my principal
  • I work hard and provide a good example of work ethic
  • I’m in charge of my classroom – sort of a benevolent dictator
  • I focus on missing skills – if they aren’t doing an assignment or are doing it poorly, I don’t assume it is by choice; I mean really who wakes up in the morning and says, “I’m going to do the worst job I can today”?  I figure out what skills seem to be missing, present those skills for practice with “recipes” (step-by-step procedures) to follow and we try again.
  • I use relevant material; if a reading does not seem to be relevant, we find the relevance.

So why did Ms. Jason’s class “come in, sit down, focus, and care about doing well”?

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