Thursday, March 22, 2007

Very QHST

Due to recent disscussions with colleuges I have reposted this piece:

Below is a response to a post on a blog at World Journalism Prep High School, it is written by one of our graduating seniors. click---> here to see other comments

It reads:

I still remember the first question I asked my teacher Mrs. Ferrara my freshmen year, “How can you transfer to another school?”

Coming into Queens High School of Teaching was a really different experience. I knew that this school wasn't going to be anything close to a normal high school. Having a class called DEAR and Advisory. My friends from other high schools would say “What are you in, elementary school?”

At first it was frustrating knowing I would never have a normal high school experience. There was only the freshman class and sophomore class. With there being hardly any sophomores my freshmen class really stood out. I hated the fact every teacher knew me and my business. This wasn't high school. I thought I could get away with so much here.

Years went by. Now I am a senior and I couldn't be happier with the high school I attend. My class is the first full graduating class of a school that's different. A school that has teachers that will remember us as individuals and not just another student. I am glad my high school wasn't a normal high school because how many kids from other high schools can say they had DEAR and Advisory. These were the classes that helped me grow as a person. Schools isn't just about math or science but about all the other things you have to face in the real world, things we were taught in advisory. What other high schools have party's, get to read a book for 30-45 minutes and get away from all the other subjects and get graded for that? I am glad my teachers were in my business because if it wasn't for them then I wouldn't have made some of the decisions that led me to a good future.

Its such a fortunate thing to be in a school where teachers care about your concerns and can help you. In a normal high school I would be lost and just another ID number to the teachers and staff. This experience has helped me so much as a student and as a person because the way I adapted to the diversity. How I learned to deal with differences and learned to get along with people I would of never talked to in a normal high school. I matured in a way no other high school would have helped to.

Now Ms. Ferrara and I joke around about the first question I asked her.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your experience at QHST. My child is a sophomore and I am still wondering if this school is a mistake. He gets very good grades but hardly gets any homework and this seems to be the easiest school years he has had since kindergarten! Although we like the school (new building!) and the teachers' enthusiasm, I am concerned if my child is actually being prepared for college! I would love to hear more stories from students and it would be great to hear from other parents as well. Concerned Parent

Superfly said...

Concerned Parent,
You seem to be comparing QHST to your own personal vision of what a high school should be (logically so, you want that’s best for your child. You have a pretty set idea of what that should look like and something that doesn’t quite fit your vision can be frightening). However, and you probably already know this, we are not at all what most people would envision in that respect and I also struggled with that a lot at first. But I have come to believe (and this was a long process too, to get to this point) that one gets a much more rounded, secular education at QHST than at other schools.
In regards to your concern about homework, I think that as long as the homework he does get is meaningful, why should we be bombarding our children with hours of homework (much of which, in traditional high schools, is usually frivolous busywork to make it seem like they offer a challenging curriculum) after they've already spent all day in school? Why does high school need to be so high pressure? Also (and this is reflected in other posts on this blog as well) I think the majority of students feel unprepared for college, whether they were in a high school that attacked them with homework and high stakes honors classes or they were in a more relaxed, community oriented environment with more student centered classes.
Personally, I feel that QHST prepared me for college better than a traditional high school would have. I feel that QHST builds a terrific sense of confidence in students as well as teaching them how to better vocalize their thoughts and ideas and participate in classroom debates and discussions. Writing and reflection are also an integral part of the QHST experience and I think that students come out of QHST knowing more about who they are in the world (not to mention with the skills to articulate that both verbally and on paper!) than they would coming from other places.
That’s all for now. Thanks,
-joanna vogel, current QHST Senior

R. Zambrotta said...

Being a little older than most and having a child who is currently a teacher I would like to give my perspective on college preparedness. My son went to Townsend Harris and did fairly well. He went tot he University of Maryland to study government and politics. I remember the first few calls telling me that he was leaving and that he had little time, overwhelmed by being totally away from home for the first time. His first year was a little rocky, organization skills and study skills proved to be the foundation to get him through. Even though he took college classes at Queens College in his senior year he was not ready, maybe fearful is a better word. I think we experience this with all transitions. I know our middel schoolers experience a great deal of difficulty when they arrive in high school. I believe that the excellent teaching staff here at QHST will prepare our students with the skills and confidence to succeed. It may take a little while and be different for each student, but just like any other school experience the kids still need our love and support even though they want the college independence.

d. o'neill said...

Bravo, Joanna!!!

Ms. Mayo said...

Also being a little older than most, although obviously not as old as Mr. Z., I had the same experience with my daughter feeling unprepared for college after a "rigorous" high school experience. There is a tendency to confuse a lot of "hard" work with learning. So much of that is not meaningful learning, but busy work. Like homework. For the "concerned parent," I recommend Alfie Kohn's book called The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing. Actually, I recommend all of Kohn's books for a common sense approach to education and parenting(www.alfiekohn.com).

So much of what my daughter tells me about college makes me feel confident that a progressive education that stresses critical thinking, cooperative learning, inquiry, and all of what we at QHST consider best practice, will better prepare our students for college than any traditional high school that focuses on content delivery through lecture, and memorization of minute and unimportant facts.

Lori

Nigel Pugh said...

I attended a very traditional high school with huge amounts of homework given in the evenings, weekends and vacations. There were evening classes and Saturday classes for all students. We were “crammed” full of knowledge (that came from teachers and textbooks). Yet I was totally unprepared for college. My first “lecture” was two opposing professors presenting different perspectives – I didn’t know there could be multiple perspectives. My first seminar was in philosophy where the professor refused to “teach” but demanded that we speak about our beliefs. My guess is that few students are fully prepared for college in their first year, but I imagine that many QHST graduates will be much more prepared for college than I was.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous bellow me, If your kid is doing well it doesn't mean its too easy, just that it works for him or her. Homework isn't all that great an idea, and there are alot of kids who simply don't need it and can't even do it because it is so desperately unnecessary. I myself find homework to be pointless and a waste of time for the most part, and still I learn just as much as any other kid, and do better then anyone else on the tests. Homework is not required for learning for everyone. The fact that there is only really one type of public school in this country is truly tragic, because if you ask any expert on how people learn, they will tell you there are different kinds of learners that have different needs. Some need to repeat things alot to get it down, others need to only do something once or twice and move on.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous bellow me, If your kid is doing well it doesn't mean its too easy, just that it works for him or her. Homework isn't all that great an idea, and there are alot of kids who simply don't need it and can't even do it because it is so desperately unnecessary. I myself find homework to be pointless and a waste of time for the most part, and still I learn just as much as any other kid, and do better then anyone else on the tests. Homework is not required for learning for everyone. The fact that there is only really one type of public school in this country is truly tragic, because if you ask any expert on how people learn, they will tell you there are different kinds of learners that have different needs. Some need to repeat things alot to get it down, others need to only do something once or twice and move on.

Anonymous said...

i go to the school and i dont like it it is really bad. i am a freshman. i hate hw i think it shouldnt exsit anyway i say dont apply for this school its not worth it i rather be that other student instead of being anoyed by the teachers. its too easy too i cant leave building during lunch!!! they divide up the communitys. it sucks and u get in (depends on community)(7:30)(8:30)(9:30).the school has made the worst choices ever they are not the hs u want EVER WANT TO JOIN...BYE

Anonymous said...

To the last comment, it can't be that easy, by looking at your grammar you need a lot of work, your last school should've worked harder on you. As for College my son graduated 2 years ago, he got many scholarships to different schools, wound up at Queens College has a 3.6 GPA. College or any new experience will be hard in the beginning you'll all be fine.

Perry Oken said...

TO All,
I attended that school and when I began there in 03 as a freshman I hated it. Hate is not a strong enough word I loathed it, however, that changed very quickly and I learned that it was an incredible place to grow as a person. It is a breeding place for gifted individuals unlike other traditional schools who teach one to conform. A QHST up bringing is incredible and is worth more than anyone will ever realize. To parents who believe a tradition school is better for their children I believe you need to take a look at it from an open mind instead of your unclear meaning of education from your traditional mindset.