Using ClassDojo as a Bridge Between Communities
A story from Tasia Fields
Tasia Fields likes to say she was born to be a teacher. At the age of 12 she was playing ‘school’ with her cousins. Growing up, she was a Girl Scout leader, a camp counselor, and a tutor. Years later, she still loves being around kids and spends her days teaching 4th grade at Carman-Buckner Elementary School and raising her 4 year-old son, Isaiah.
Tasia finds that children have a way of keeping her young, and she has taken steps to include her students in the life of her son, who has Type 1 diabetes. “It’s important to connect to your students on a personal level,” she says. “My students know about my son’s diabetes. I bring him to different school events. They treat him like family.”
As a teacher at a Title I school outside of Chicago, Illinois, with a majority Hispanic population, Tasia has had to find ways to relate to her kids who struggle with the English language. “There is often a language barrier, which causes a disconnect. I’ve had students that have never been to a movie theatre, or heard simple words like ‘raft’ before. Low economic status and other family hardships make it hard for our students to have different experiences that will add their learning.”
As a single mother herself, Tasia is familiar with the challenges her students face, and she does her best to provide the support many are lacking at home. “You work with what you have, you use motivating tools to get kids who are facing lots of adversity at home to get excited about school. Kids love incentives.” When she was struggling to get one student to wear the school’s mandatory uniform, she started giving out ClassDojo points for proper dress. Sure enough, he now shows up every day in uniform.
Moreover, Tasia has found ClassDojo to be an excellent tool to share real classroom data during parent-teacher conferences. “Before, I could only tell parents at a high-level about a student’s behavior, and without it grounded in actual examples. And now I can actually show them their son or daughter’s weekly and monthly percentages for behavior, with notes on what occurred!”
In between raising Isaiah and teaching her 4th graders, Tasia somehow also manages to find time to work towards her masters’ degree in curriculum and instruction, with a focus on ESL. She may have her plate full at home, but she remains committed to helping all of her students learn, despite their diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and learning needs. It’s no surprise that Tasia’s classroom feels like a family where everyone is loved for who they are.