Ellie’s Eighth Grade Endeavors, Episode 1: Democracy Coaches Learn Too




GC’s very own FAO Schwarz Fellow Ellie Sanchez is currently teaching the GC Core Program to an 8th grade class at the Joseph Lee K-8 School in Dorchester, MA. While Ellie’s primary job is to be Boston’s Program Associate, she’s also stepped into the shoes of our Democracy Coaches to teach a GC class for the first time. Each week, Ellie will be sharing with us stories from the classroom: lessons she’s learned, updates on her class’s project, and much more. Enjoy!

October 15, 2015: Democracy Coaches Learn Too

As someone who’s supported and worked with many students in Boston Public Schools, I went into my class ready to teach Lesson 1 with an “I’ve got this” mentality. That cockiness was quickly shut down as I struggled to get through the lesson with students talking over me the whole time. After class, I talked to my partner teacher, and began reflecting on what I could do to prevent this from being a norm on GC days. Through my visits, I observed that often when students tried to speak out, they were limited by school discipline policies which condemned those actions. However, through reading my students exit tickets, I realized that they had incredible things to say about community issues that affected their lives, such as the Black Lives Matters movement. As an incentive, I started Lesson 2 by giving my students “shout-outs” and praising students that worked hard on their responses as a way to empower their voices, and reframe how speaking out can be a positive thing. As a result, Lesson 2 emerged a successful and productive class. We’re here, we’re heard, and we’re ready for action!

-Ellie Sanchez