Jaeliz shared her advice for BTR grads and a student perspective on how teachers can better engage with their students. Here is her speech in its entirety.
“Hi everyone. My name is Jaeliz. I gave a speech at my 5th grade graduation ceremony at DSNCS, and I can’t believe I am giving another speech to you at your graduation. I am super excited that you guys are on your way to becoming lead teachers. I have some advice for you, and I hope this helps you to be a successful teacher.
The first piece of advice I have for you is to make a connection with your students. I know that students like to be able to talk to their teachers and be open with them. So as a teacher, I think it is important to be accepting towards your students and help them when they need it. An example of being accepting is when the whole class had a hard time during clubs and were angry and got into fights with each other. Our teacher came back and talked through it with us and made sure people apologized to one another. She also helped people resolve the anger people were feeling and express it in different ways that were not hurtful.
Another piece of advice for you is to include real-world topics into your lessons when you can. I think it is important that at all ages, kids are learning about the world around them and learning about how they can impact the world. In 5th Grade, we learned about the Black Panther Party, and The March On Washington for Civil Rights. We learned that the Black Panther Party helped kids that didn’t have any get food. We learned that people from around the country came to the March on Washington to protest for Black Lives Matter and to hear inspiring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was very far for some people and they had to get thousands of trains and buses to transport people to the march. This information helped me learn history that led us to where we are now. We made connections to the Black Lives Matter movement that was happening this year. It helped me make sense of some of the things that are happening now, and how it is connected to our history. It helped me see how other people changed the country and how I can have a voice to do that too.
My third piece of advice is to include hands-on projects for kids, not just talking and writing. Some great projects I have done at DSNCS is in second grade, we visited different landmarks in Boston, like The Food Project and The Mary Hannon Playground. We learned about how people were protesting to make changes to those places and the environment around them. For example, people were asking the city to clean Mary Hannon Park so it would be safe for kids. The Food Project wanted to grow more plants and needed more money to do that. We learned about those stories and we created projects about them. We used clay and cardboard to make mini models of the protest and made little signs that said “Clean Mary Hannon Park!” and things like that. We got to work with other people in our grade for our projects, so that was very fun to me.
I hope you take this advice and use it to become a great teacher in the future. Thank you for listening.”