“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth. “” ~Dan Rather This research paper was written to educate you and myself on various topics on becoming a high school math teacher. I enrolled at Ashford University to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in order to enter the transition to teaching program. This paper has allowed me to acquire pertinent and vital information about my future career choice. My research was done on the status of high school math teachers, as well as students, in Indiana.
This paper will educate you on Indiana’s High School mathematics graduation requirements, percentage of math students passing these requirements, teachers’ salaries, and the effect that a minority teacher should have on minority students. To graduate High school in Indiana a student must complete the Core 40 requirements set by the state. These requirements were implemented in 2006. There are four different diplomas that a high school student in the state of Indiana could receive upon completing the Core 40 requirements: General, Core 40, Core 40 with Academic Honors, and Core 40 with Technical Honors (Indiana Core 40, 2006).
Even after completing the courses required for the Core 40 High School students in the state of Indiana must pass an exam to “qualify” for graduation. This exam is referred to as the GQE (Indiana Core 40, 2006 ). Indiana has added a few nice provisions to this legislation to help out students who may simply not be good test takers, or for those who are ready to work and do not need the required math skills for their work. These provisions, which are found on the Indiana Department of Education website, are referred to as the “Evidence-based waiver” and the “Work readiness waiver.
The evidence-based waiver is for those students who excel in the classroom, but have a hard time with tests. This provision, among other things, allows teachers to confirm that the student knows what has been taught in class and that they have kept up their attendance as well. The work readiness waiver is for those students who have completed the Core 40 coursework as well as a completed a Career Exploration Internship. This simply means that the student has done the work that was required of them and that they are, in fact, ready to enter the workforce even though they may not have passed the GQE.
Both provisions have provided students additional opportunities to complete their Indiana High School Math requirements. After learning about the requirements to pass math in the state of Indiana I wanted to take a look at the percentage of passing students to see if the percentage had improved since the Core 40 and GQE was put in place. Since there had been a curriculum change put into place, I wanted to see if the students were being positively affected by this change.
Although I could not find the passing percentage for 12th graders, which is what I wanted to evaluate, I was able to find the percentage of 10th graders that passed from 2006-2009. I found that there was a quite a jump in the percentage of passing students from the year ’06-’07 to the year ’07-’08; it went from 66% to 72% (Annual Performance Report , 2009). However, the following year the same increased percentage did not occur. Instead the Indiana 10th grade percentage of students passing their GQE went down two percentage points.
The numbers for the ’09-’10 year in Indiana have not yet been released, but I hope to find that these percentages were on the rise and did not follow suit from the previous year. Based on these statistics I am unable to see the impact that the Core 40 was designed to have on Indiana’s High School math students. The new legislation has only been in place for a few years, so there is still time for this to have a positive effect on the students and their graduation rates.
Looking at these statistics raised a question for me, “How do you measure a teacher’s worth? Well, based on some research I can tell you that the average high school teacher’s salary has been on a steady incline. Within the last 35 years the average public school teacher’s salary has went from $11,165 for the school year of 1974-1975 to $50,488 for the school year of 2009-2010(Teacher Salary, 2007). The increases in wages have been well over the national inflation rate also.
As a future teacher this research shows me that the state is recognizing the hard work that its teachers are putting nto their students and the government is trying to retain quality teachers. The monetary compensation is one valuable form of measuring a teacher worth, but there’s still the intangibles of the career and that is community worth. I have found through conversations with family and friends who are educators, no one teaches for the money. However, it is reassuring to see that I will be able to have a career that I am happy with and be able to support my family at the same time. I was drawn to this research topic because of my background and love for coaching.
As a coach you are a teacher, counselor, and father. As a minority I believe I will be able to relate to my Afro-American students better. In my experiences I have found it easier to relate to students of the same ethnicity or socioeconomic backgrounds. Bandura states that learning may occur as a result of watching someone else perform some action and experience reinforcement or punishment (Boyd and Bee, 2006). I served as a role model for my student athletes by showing them various life decisions and how to make the correct choices when they arouse.
As a male I have been a father figure to a lot of young males. My advice has been used as education for life situations and life skills. I saw the self efficacy as a huge challenge in many young and economically challenged Afro-American males and females. Bandura defines self efficacy as the belief in one’s ability to perform some action or to control one’s behavior or environment, to reach some goal or to make something happen ( Boyd and Bee, 2006).
Many students had the attitude that they couldn’t overcome the obstacles that life had placed in front of them. Many social problems that the students faced were looked at as obstacles that were to hard overcome. I was able to help one particular student with a life altering experience and persuade him to not give up on his dreams. This young man had the opportunity to obtain a full athletic scholarship to a division one school for football, however numerous obstacles surrounded this young athlete, but none were greater than his lack of mathematical aptitude.
I realized with working with this student that all of my social and ethical skills teaching wouldn’t benefit him if he couldn’t not pass his mathematical requirements to graduate high school and also pass college entrance exams. I hope that someday I will be in this situation again and I will be able to help other student’s overcome what many people see as an adversity. The adversity I am speaking of is being able to complete their math requirements so that they may receive their high school diploma.
One of the main reasons I have decided to become an educator is to help young students’ poor outlook on their futures. As a teacher I will receive tremendous gratification watching a student reach his or her full potential. Watching students that never believed in themselves enough to graduate walk across the stage during graduation and listen to the speaker announce their future plans to attend a university or college is something that cannot be matched. The social impact of this job is immeasurable and the joy that I will receive from the profession will last a life time.
In conclusion, as a minority high school teacher I should be able to model correct life skills and teach proficient math skills to my students that will create a greater sense of self efficacy in them. After researching Indiana’s High School mathematic graduation requirements, the percentage of students passing math requirements, and teachers’ salaries, I have found that I will be teaching in a state that has transformed its educational curriculum and requirements to produce more societal ready students, whether they join the workforce or the campus.
I will also be working for a state that has a proven track record of monetarily backing its educators and keeping them out of poverty. With any luck the salaries will continue to rise with the educational requirements of the students that we must prepare for the future. Lastly, I will have a career that will keep this great nation strong and also provide me with a great sense of community pride.
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