Teachers Talk Back: LA Teacher Katy Allamong
Katy Allamong teaches Algebra and Geometry at Opportunities for Learning, an independent study and credit-recovery public charter school, in Hawthorne, California.
How is your school’s teaching model different than that of the traditional classroom?
Some students I teach want to learn at an accelerated pace, some are parents and need more flexibility, and some are students for whom the traditional model was simply not working. Our hybrid model of independent study and credit recovery courses caters to a diverse group of students.
How does this diverse group of students affect the culture of your school?
Though students aren’t in class all day together, they enjoy being here and get to know each other during their work time. Just like other schools, we have school dances, field trips, senior night, prom, etc. Our students show up for everything and the majority of them are very invested. They camp out all day—sometimes we even need to kick them out!
Why do you think students feel so comfortable sticking around?
It’s important to me that students not just respect teachers, but also trust us. Small classes create more one-on-one time between teachers and students, which produces more opportunities for teachers to mentor students. Students will often come in to school for tutoring and end up chatting with me about other aspects of their life. Once that kind of relationship exists, it is easier to reach them.
Why do you continue to teach?
Once I started teaching, I knew the classroom was where I was supposed to be. To see the moment a concept clicks for a student is so addicting. I love watching them become proud and confident in their academic abilities.
Why are you a member of E4E?
Teachers are in the classrooms with students each day and we see how these top-down decisions affect our youth. At E4E, we have the opportunity to collaborate and figure out what is working at our schools and then use our collective insight to have a voice in the big decisions that are being made for our students.