Summer Bloggers 2009 :: The Light Bulb!

Name: Briana PittariBriana Pittari08
Site: Breakthrough Philadelphia–St. Joseph’s University
Subjects: 8th Grade Social Studies (Global Issues) and Creative Writing Elective
School: St. Joseph’s University 2010

Prompt 3: Please describe a recent “light-bulb” moment; every teacher has had this experience. You work with a student day after day and there seems to be one point that the student continues to struggle with. You change up your strategy, use new vocabulary, employ various media to get your point across. And then, bam! The light goes on and your student has made that BREAKTHROUGH. You have impacted that student forever.

My light-bulb moment for one of my students came through  a social victory, not necessarily an academic one.  During the first week of program, one of my normally bubbly yet extremely shy students was completely withdrawn and disengaged. Pulling her aside, she expressed her displeasure in receiving “health education”as we talked about HIV/AIDS (our UN issue this summer) because it was information she already knew. I explained to her how at those moments where she feels she is more advanced than the rest of the class are the moments where I need her to participate the most. Besides, if she just sits in the back of the class in high school, I explained, her teachers are not going to see the beautiful and intelligent girl I see.  At that moment, that light bulb clicked on. Her demeanor immediately changed after this chat.

I’m not sure whether this light bulb moment came as a result of a shot of confidence, or because my student finally realized that she is not only in charge of her learning, but leading others in reaching those high expectations in my classroom. In either case, the glow in her eye and excitement to learn in my classroom has been invaluable. Ever since this day, my student cannot keep her hand from flying in the air to comment or participate. My student is also more open about her struggles, her triumphs, and everything in between, and is more aware of the power she has as she walks into my classroom. Every day, I see my student grow not only as an academic scholar, but a leader among her peers.

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