I can remember the first class I ever took in college my freshman year at Baylor University. I had breezed through high school with minimal effort. I never really struggled with any subject and never had to study too much. I graduated in the top 10 percent of my class and headed off to college expecting to enjoy similar success. However, that 9 a.m. biology class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday had different ideas. I found myself struggling to keep up with the workload, pace and depth of the material. Add to that, the labs I was responsible for once a week and my world was quickly spinning out of control academically that fall.
Preparing students to take that next step in their education and be college-ready is one of the reasons why I am happy to be a teacher at iSchool High at University Park. While our school teaches all the required academic subjects, we place great importance on the preparation for how to handle things after high school.
Our students can take dual-credit college classes through Lone Star College. Having the chance to take actual college classes while still in high school gives our students a leg-up. iSchool students learn how to manage college schedules and enrollment, how to deal with and communicate with actual college professors and, of course, learn what will be expected in studying and working through college-level materials.
Beyond the access to college classes, iSchool’s high school classes are also designed to begin fostering the types of habits that students need to be successful in college. Students are expected to work and even grade their units on their own. Students have to learn time management and organization. Teachers are available to assist and provide instruction, however, the students are encouraged to become independent learners.
With students working independently and managing their own work, teachers are free to build relationships and grow relationships with students. We do not have bells and “passing periods.” Teachers work with students all day long, not just in 45 minute segments. Teachers are not limited or rushed to talk to students who, in other school settings, may have five minutes to get to their next class when the bell rings. Having the time to talk to a student about their dance recital, or their soccer game, or what they did over the Christmas holiday builds up trust between student and teacher. When the time comes for teacher and student to have to work together on a question or problem, that relationship makes working together much easier.
Why iSchool High at University Park? Students will not only receive instruction in academics, but they will also develop skills that will be important to their success after high school, whether that is college or just life in general. The teachers build relationships with their students and because of our system of developing independent learners, the teachers are able to work with and talk one-on-one with students and build relationships with them which encourage the student to be successful.
I ended up making a C in that Biology class. The first C I had ever made in school. Luckily I made some good friends who I worked with that semester and ended up with an awesome lab partner. I did a little better for the rest of my time in college, but that class was eye-opening for me. I am proud to be at iSchool High at University Park and look forward to working with students and hope through the relationships I build with them, to pass on my experiences and knowledge to help prepare them for college and their lives beyond high school.
David Pausky has been teaching for 13 years. Prior to coming to iSchool High at University Park, he taught for the Katy ISD in the Houston area. Before teaching he worked in Radio/TV. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications and Journalism from Baylor University. He is married and has three children: a freshman in high school, a seventh grader and a kindergartener.
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