Teacher Pushed Struggling Student To Honors | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Teacher Pushed Struggling Student To Honors

Play associated audio

When Meliza Arellano started seventh grade at New York City charter school Democracy Prep four years ago, she was below grade level in both math and reading. She was put in a class that helps students like her get up to speed. Her teacher was Sarah Benko. That was the year Arellano became a serious student.

"I kinda didn't like you at first," Arellano tells Benko. She says Benko would take her outside to tutor her, and that made her mad.

At her old school, Arellano rarely attended class, and she says the teachers never encouraged her to put in the extra work to succeed.

"So I guess I kinda rejected you because nobody ever helped me before. It felt really weird," she says, "but there was a point where I finally got a good grade, and I realized that you were actually doing me good."

Now, Arellano is in the honors class. She says Benko is the one who helped her realize that she likes reading.

"I used to just look at the back blurb and ... basically write almost everything that is said and ... put it in my own words and turn it in," she says.

Arellano lost count of the number of books she read last year.

"It was a lot. I was actually inspired by the fact that you helped me a lot," she says, "and so ... I want to be a teacher when I grow up."

Benko's advice for her budding teacher: "Don't worry too much if the kids like you or not."

"If you trust yourself," she says, "you want the best for them. Don't worry if they see it right in that moment."

Audio produced for Weekend Edition by Brian Reed.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Little House,' Big Demand: Never Underestimate Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wilder's memoir reveals that she witnessed more violence than you'd ever know from her children's books. The South Dakota State Historical Society can barely keep up with demand for the autobiography.
NPR

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

The market for single-serving coffee pods is dominated by Keurig's K-Cups. But they aren't recyclable, and critics say that's making a monster of an environmental mess. Meet the K-Cup Godzilla.
NPR

The Next Air Force One Will Be A Boeing 747-8

The Air Force says the decision came down to the American-made 747-8 or the Airbus A380, which is manufactured in France. But even with that pick, the 747 program might not last much longer.
NPR

Charles Townes, Laser Inventor, Black Hole Discoverer, Dies At 99

Physicist Charles Townes died Tuesday. He was a key inventor of the laser and won the Nobel Prize for his discovery in 1964. But his career didn't end there.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.