Amandla Charter School

News According to 5th Graders: Robin Robinson Guest Teaches at Englewood School

June 1, 2011

FOX Chicago News

Chicago - FOX Chicago has been focusing a lot of our reporting on public schools in recent months. With the crisis in education, teachers are often in the cross hairs. So FOX Chicago’s Robin Robinson accepted an invitation to get just a small taste of the most important job in the world.

Robinson spent two days at Amandla Charter School in Englewood, where she taught about journalism.

A little lesson in the “who, what, when where and whys,” of journalism. It's only possible because of the hard work of the real teacher: Hope Evans.

Robinson’s stint as guest instructor started by watching the way this english teacher handles a class full of energetic 5th graders ..

“It’s really important to do countdowns, they need to know how much time and if they're going to be held accountable,” Evans said. “If your head's down, or you're not paying attention or your eyes are glazed over, you're looking around the classroom, I know that you're not paying attention.”

Miss Evans is a second year corps member of Teach for America. TFA is an army of overachieving college graduates recruited from other fields to teach in the country's neediest areas.

“We take every student - some couldn’t write a sentence – and build them up from there,” Evans said. “It’s a long process, but we build them up bit by bit.”

Numbers at Amandla are up from just about 50 percent of students meeting state standards in the school's first year, to 70 percent last year.

The goal, for every student, is to go to college. These fifth graders are working on practice essays for college applications.

So they had the foundation for Robinson’s lesson, and homework.

“For the first time in 23 years, Chicago has a new mayor,” Robinson said. “That will be the hook. It can be short and to the point. Read it out loud to yourself, better yet, have somebody else read it out loud tonight.”

She returned the next day to find a room full of reporters

The students talked abou Oprah Winfrey’s last show, the Chicago Bulls comeback, Osama Bin Laden’s death, and of course, Mayor Emanuel, and his connection to President Obama.

Robinson said it was a great day in the classroom for her.

She said if these youngsters learned anything, its a tribute to those who spend every day keeping them straight.

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