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Current time:0:00Total duration:4:14

Video transcript

They’re quirky. They don’t always smell great. But I really love teaching middle school. (LAUGHS). They’re pretty amazing. And it’s a really pivotal age, in terms of instruction and learning. If you’re able to make an impression at that age, it can really set students down a path to be really successful and have a lot of opportunit[ies] and options. I really enjoy teaching math because I feel like, too many times, students have a really terrible experience with math. And so, I’m really passionate about filling in those gaps with kids, and creating a meaningful math experience for them that allows them to sort of re-embrace math and a love for mathematics. When I started [at] the beginning of this year, students were tremendously below grade level. These are sixth graders that enter this school [at] anywhere between a second-grade level to, I think, the higher range being at a beginning fourth-grade level. So, on average, about two years [to] two and a half years, behind. I was at the charter school conference in San Diego [California] last year. And Sal Khan spoke at the conference about Khan Academy. It created a little bit of a spark. And I was sort of-- (Probably, it was a little disruptive.) But [I] was talking to the people sitting next to me, and being like, “Oh, I want to do this in my classroom. I don’t know how we’re going to do it. I’m going to go rogue, if I have to, and find the computers and make this happen.” And so, after hearing Sal speak at the conference, I went back and just went with it, and started putting my students [who] were struggling on Khan [Academy]. They were really into it. I think, given the demographic that we teach, just agewise, and the generation we teach, technology is so heavy in their lives. Everywhere they are, it’s technology. They're really excited to be using Khan Academy. They were like, “Yeah! I got this. I can do division now. I couldn’t do division before.” Using the data, I can break students into groups; I can target [specific] students who are struggling in certain areas. I can also see students as a whole. Like if, for instance, the class completes a module on "least common multiple," and they’ve all mastered it before I introduce it in the class, then I know, “Hey, this isn’t something I need to spend as much time on.” So, as a teacher, it’s freed up learning time for me to use time more efficiently, as well. And that’s really helped me, as a teacher in my classroom, to really push kids, helping them make progress towards the next grade level, but also helping them make progress just as mathematicians in general. When I started at the beginning of this year, some of them liked math -- a lot of them didn’t like math. And Khan [Academy] has been an incredibly valuable tool, in terms of just buying them in. I have one student, specifically, who stands out, when I think of him. He’s like “Oh, I used to hate math. And now, now I really love it.” They’re not only accessing the sixth-grade curriculum, but they’re also succeeding [in] the sixth-grade math curriculum. Some of the students have made two years growth, mathematically. Khan Academy allows them to go back if they didn’t get it. Or if they got it, to engage in a different type of mathematics. It’s just really awesome to see them there, on Khan Academy, doing their thing, searching for videos -- tying it back to what we’re learning in class, and being motivated to take charge of their own learning.