Teamwork at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School From Folks to Friends An Artifact for Standard #10 In every job or placement that I have had, it always turns out that I’ve more recently become more of a people person than a task-oriented worker. It was after a hard-learned lesson in my sophomore year when I was still in Army ROTC and running an 18-man staff for the Leonard Residence Hall. This Leonard crew staffed the front desk and included resident assistance, desk receptionists, and University College assistants. After starting off with a bumpy fall, the winter strained both my relationships in the Corps and workplace, eventually pushing the frustration of both groups to be aimed towards its people. I carried that back over after a weekend of tiring but successful field operations and members of my staff approached my own employers to complain about how serious I was about the task, and less about the employees. Since then, I have learned better to make use of the relationships that will last longer from the classroom than my time in it will. As I reflect upon the last few months’ worth of student teaching, I look back upon many blessings of brotherhood amongst the young men that I was able to grow with. Parents and staff members who I cherish will not be forgotten, and the joy of watching B-CC winning sporting events is priceless.
On Fridays, the boys in AP Statistics and I celebrate “Hawaiian Shirt Friday” to bring some spring cheer to the end of the week. Winston Kelly, on my left, and Chris Pappalardo, on the right, are both student-athletes. On this occasion, other boys could not join us because they were wearing the suit-and-tie standard for the afternoon baseball game.
Barons at their Best Since I joined the school in winter, I had the distinct privilege of seeing many of my own students play at their sporting events. Having gone to high school in Australia, where there are no varsity athletics programs, I was exposed to my first high school games at B-CC and valued the dedication and commitment that my students had for their sports. I noticed a common thread between my Algebra I and AP Statistics students. I found the same bond between junior varsity and varsity players. It was apparent in the Tattler, B-CCâ€™s school newspaper and in the attire of blue and gold that the students wore. This common thread was simply the love of the school, more than the love of any game or the pride of success. Notable Barons did their best and gave me an insight on their extracurricular activities: Most involved students on campus Diondre Anderson, JV Football Sophia Asmuth, JV Lacrosse Lauren Becker, Softball Emily Becker, Softball Jacob Boross, Baseball Robert Eastaugh, JV Football Alicia Gorina, Basketball Kayla Hanley, JV Lacrosse Hannah Hoffman, writer for the Tattler Christopher Pappalardo, Lacrosse Nick Sevilla, Baseball Caroline Symons, Softball
Class Algebra I Algebra I AP Statistics AP Statistics AP Statistics Algebra I AP Statistics Algebra I AP Statistics AP Statistics AP Statistics AP Statistics
Nick Sevilla, a senior in my AP Statistics class, prepares to bat at one of the first baseball games this season at home. In the stands are parents of the baseball team, including Mr. Boross, Jacobâ€™s father in the red Coast Guard jacket at the front, who tracks the game for the team on paper for every game, whether home or away.
The “Redhead Twins”, Emily and Lauren Becker, at the rightmost of the softball team on the fence, celebrate as another homerun is scored against Wheaton. This game was especially memorable because it was Senior’s Day for the Beckers and Caroline Symons, all three of whom were in my AP Statistics classes. For their commitment, the girls received a farewell and were presented with the flowers in the bottom right. On the rightmost side of the photo is the mother of the “Redhead Twins”, Mrs. Becker, who cheers the Lady Barons on at every game.
Time for Academic Progress (TAP) After school on Tuesdays through Thursdays, a unique program is run for students who wish to receive more teacher attention from the core subjects. As part of the math team, I was not required to stay for TAP, but it was a small room of anywhere from a handful of kids to a packed classroom of students preparing to take a test the next day. Algebra I would normally be a common sight in there, with a few students representing at least one of my classes. TAP was run by Mary-Kay Lydanne, who I observed and also had the opportunity to flash-teach with. An amazing motivator of students, Mary-Kay’s work in setting up TAP meant that her day started at 7am with the rest of the staff, but finished at 4pm. Thankfully, her son attends B-CC too! Although it is set up as a tutoring classroom, TAP is really a joint project of a few clusters, each representing an area and difficulty of mathematics. It is held in the same classroom that I teach the morning in, and the rule of thumb during TAP is “whoever is teaching the largest group of students gets the Promethean Board”. Fair enough, I say, because on the two “wings” of the front of the classroom, there are also small, square blackboards that can be used. Finally, a whiteboard is accessible at the rear of the classroom too, making TAP very user-friendly.
According to the B-CC website, “Time for Academic Progress is an after-school tutoring program at B-CC for all students who seek to do better in their courses. It provides students with a structured place to work after school. In each room, B-CC teachers are available to help students with their homework, studying, projects, papers, etc. The program has been in existence for mathematics for couple of years before expanding to English, foreign Language, science and social studies in the 2004-2005 academic year. The expansion was in response to Acting Principal Sean Bulson's survey of student leaders at the start of the 2004-2005 school year. The number one priority for the students was having extra time and more focused academic support for all students at all levels, from those struggling to succeed in grade-level courses to those who were taking advanced courses but need extra encouragement and support to succeed.” It is no doubt that mathematics is in greatest need of small ratio classrooms. In all my Algebra I classes, there are no less than 25 students in any given class, and two of them max out at 30 and 32 students respectively. Such ratios make it extremely difficult for the teacher to reach all of his or her students, and therefore, TAP does not compensate for this, but rather, awards students who choose to build more teacher-attentive time into their study schedules. On the other hand, TAP is also used as a ground for test-taking after school and sometimes, detentions too. It was not my choice, but some students are sent to TAP as a punishment and as one of the teachers that worked in TAP, I had to encourage them to work to their best ability. Reflection on the B-CC Community I cannot be more grateful for all those at B-CC who received me so warmly and invited me to partake in their lives. “You should come to our basketball game today Mr. Choi!” or “Are you coming to Super Friday sir?” are invitations that are priceless because they show the students’ high regard for a teacher. It was a pleasure to accept as many of these invitations as possible. There was one particular instance that stood out in the winter when I stayed behind school one day to watch both the JV and Lady Baron’s basketball games. Both were amazing, and I watched Demetra land her amazing skills on the court, as well as a few other Algebra I girls who were in the JV cheerleading team. As the first game finished from the sidelines, I waited patiently for the varsity team, which ended up drawing no more than three dozen home spectators. One of them was Hannah Hoffman, a cheery senior whose attitude on life should be envied by all young people. Hannah found me in the stands, which considering the lack of spectators was not hard, and asked if it was a good moment to go over statistics homework. “Sure, why not?” I answered, and for the rest of the game, Hoffman cheered on the Lady Barons and worked on statistics with me. I cannot think of another more purposeful sporting event that I can attend and do something that is not for my own selfish gain. Hannah taught me more about school spirit in the arena that day than any of my high school years. After all, we never had high school varsity sports in Australia, so I am proud to support the B-CC Barons!