Friday, July 8, 2011

My story

My name is Sacha Luria, and my biggest pleasure is helping teachers, like you, really make a difference in students' lives! Ten years ago, though, I felt like a total failure. I had graduated from college. I had been selected by Teach For America to work in a low-income school.

After two weeks of training, I had my first day of full-time teaching. 

It was a disaster. 

You have had days like this too! You feel overworked. Your class sizes are too large. Too many students are disengaged. Your students are not on task. You wonder why they don't get it. You feel frustrated. You have too many students to teach. You work hard, and don't hear anything positive about all of the work you put into teaching.

My class was large. I had no aide or parent volunteers. These were students who had failed the year before, and they were all in the same class. They were not engaged. A few students ran around the room like it was gym class (not reading class). They talked about everything except the lesson. It was pure chaos.

My supervising teacher took me aside at the end of the day and said, “We have to talk.”

Uh-oh!” Those are words you never want to hear.

It was all bad enough that in the talk my supervisor let me know that I really might not be cut out to be a teacher. Maybe I should consider a different career. I couldn't get the students to sit down, much less learn how to read and write! 

Have you had days where you wonder if this is the right job? You know that you love children, but you have so much to do. You love teaching, but you feel overworked and under appreciated. You have so many things to try and do. Why can't it be easy? You went into teaching to make a difference, not to just keep your students busy! 

I did not listen to my supervisor. I decided to would be successful. I would learn everything about being a great teacher.

Two years later, three of my students were interviewed on Disney Radio about what it was like to learn to read as teenagers. I was also interviewed on NPR and featured in the newspaper for my successes in teaching at-risk students.

  • My supervisor thought that teachers are born. 
  • Everyone with the passion can become an amazing teacher.
  • You can make a difference in your students' lives every day.

You see, after her frank conversation with me, I decided that I would learn everything.

  • How to manage the classroom. 
  • How to teach reading and writing. 
  • How to engage at-risk students in learning? 

I took classes online. I observed in master teachers' classrooms. I learned figured out what really works.

I want to share what works with you. 

You do not need to listen to more theories. You do not need to hear about the research in a dry way. You need to know about techniques that really work. Techniques that you can take into your classroom. You need to know how to make a difference the next time you walk in the door. 

It does take work to become a fantastic teacher, but you knew that. You didn't choose this job because of the pay! You chose this job because you wanted to make a difference in lives. If you are willing to put in the work, you can become the teacher you've dreamed of being.

The classes are not busywork. 

If you just want to get some credits without doing any thinking, these are not the classes for you. If you just want to move up the pay scale, there are other classes you can take. If you are interested in reading theory, but not really applying it, this is not for you.

If you want to see what really works, and have techniques to take into your classroom, then this is for you.

If you want to take your teaching to the next level, I can't wait to have you as a student!

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