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Mr. Rooke


James Madison High School


““You know what, Mr. Rooke?” said John. “You’re pretty cool.”

I paused my writing on the chalkboard to turn and smile. “Aw, well thanks, John. I appreciate that.”

“You are,” he declared, settling into his desk at the beginning of the period. “You’re cool. You’ve got potential.”

I laughed, along with several other students who heard the exchange. Potential? “Thanks, John. That’s sweet of you to say.”

It’s my first year of teaching, and I’m keeping the atmosphere relaxed and lighthearted in my classroom – I need to, or else I’d hear more grumblings for all the work I assign in class and at home. I start class by stringing vocabulary words together with tales of teen romance. I’ll make latecomers the subject of new adjectives like virtuous, vile, monstrous and vain. Every day we race to rearrange our desks into formations that vary according to the class lesson. Moving 34 desks from lecture formation to small group formation takes 24 seconds. Moving to a fishbowl, with all desks turned to face the center of the room, takes 17 seconds. Once, we managed to move from chaos to a perfectly aligned lecture formation in 11 seconds flat.

I keep their minds active by making sure that our class discussions always make direct connections between the text and the Essential Questions we are tasked with answering in each unit. For my unit on William Shakespeare’s Othello, we’ve so far considered How can we overcome those who attempt to dehumanize us? After Act I, when Othello succeeds in vanquishing all the enemies who tried to use his minority status against, we considered the question How does Othello lose his humanity? They want to know the answers to these questions, because they know that Othello’s example will be instructive to them – both in terms of what they should do, and what they should not.

I want to keep the energy high, and keep finding new ways to teach and reach my students in the 46 minutes I have with them each day. I hope you’ll support me and my students – all 112 of them.

See all five easy ways to help my students:

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Your tax-deductible contribution will help my students succeed: $

Here is what we need

Your contribution will help Mr. Rooke get essential resources for students, including those below:

Office Supplies

Computers

Art Supplies

Music

Books

Library resources

Science Equip.

Magazines


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