Nate is a 12 year old 7th grade Honor Student at Dodge Academy on Chicago’s West Side. His “Ma” is our very own Chicago Mom, Natasha Nicholes of House Full Of Nicholes.
Today, my mom decided to “interview” me about the strike that the teachers have been on since last week. I don’t have too much to say about it – well not as much as she does – but I do think that it’s nice that someone wants to hear how the students are feeling about it.
TCM: When you first heard about the strike, where were you?
Nate: I was in class. One of my teacher’s was trying to get us ready in case all of the teachers went on strike the next week. I wasn’t sure what the strike would do for us, but I was told that the things that they were asking for would make learning better for all students.
TCM: How did you feel when you heard that you weren’t going to be in school because the teachers voted to strike?
Nate: (sheepish smile) Honestly? I was happy. I have been in school since the beginning of August (mom interception: August 13, 2012 – he’s in the ‘E’ Track) and I’m kind of tired. We do a LOT and these extra long days make me exhausted.
TCM: What things were the teachers asking for? Or do you really know?
Nate: I only know because you made me read them. I do think that we need air conditioning though. We don’t have overcrowded classrooms, well, at least mine isn’t. I don’t know about the other grades. And it would also be nice if we could have a librarian that stuck around for a while and gets us books that we are actually interested in. All the recall stuff is a little confusing for me, and the evaluations remind me of what they do with us for ISAT testing. Kind of like a test that the teachers have to pass otherwise they don’t get to keep their jobs.
TCM: Do you think that’s fair?
Nate: The ISAT’s or the evaluation things?
TCM: The evaluations.
Nate: Well, I don’t like the ISAT’s so I’m pretty sure that the teacher’s don’t like the evaluations. I feel like I work hard on homework and in the classroom. If a test is the one thing that keeps me from passing my grade level, then that makes me…
Nate: I guess, it makes me a little angry. I also get frustrated.I do all of this work all year, and a teacher tells me that if I don’t do well on a test, then I have to repeat a grade. It’s a lot of stress being a kid these days.
TCM: What did you do while the teachers were on strike?
Nate: Can’t you just answer that? (laughs) You made me do things that I would have been doing in school anyway, except we finished a lot faster since you didn’t have other children to teach. I did a bit of online work with Khan Academy, and lots of reading. I tried not to do anything with science, but you wouldn’t let me get away with that, and then you mentioned a dissection!
TCM: Do you want to go back to school?
Nate: (pauses…) Yes and no. I like school. I like most of my teachers. I do like that I got to do one on one learning and ask you questions and get the answer immediately. I could also do my work while lying on the couch or on the front porch if I wanted to. I also liked being able to go to the library and hang out with a lot of my friends at You Media. I’m wondering if the teachers will be able to get what they want though. I think that learning should be available and fun for everyone. It gets bad in the summer in school, and sometimes the kids there don’t really want to be there. I liked being able to learn as fast as I wanted to while being out, but I don’t know if I want to stay with the homeschool thing.
TCM: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Nate: I hope that everyone learns to respect the other person. Teachers have a hard job, and sometimes, the parents and the students make their jobs harder. I also think that a lot of parents were upset because they didn’t have anything or anywhere to put their children. I know a lot of parents work outside of the home (they don’t blog like you) and they can’t afford to take off work to make sure that their children stay safe. There was a kid at the library who said that his mom told him to stay there all day so he wouldn’t get into trouble. So, he just sat and read and ate some of the snacks that came through.
TCM: ALL DAY?
Nate: Yes, ma. All day. For the entire week.
TCM: Do you think that you are getting a great education, or more could be done?
Nate: I think that I have a great education. And anything that I don’t learn at school, I happen to find out about through you are daddy, or places that we go – even when I don’t want to. I do think that school is sometimes boring though, and that if teachers could find ways to make it fun, then everyone would like it.