Tag Archives: teachers

Confessions of an anxious student

backtoschool2013Teacher Colleen Piper and student Deshawn Nelson prepare for back to school night.

By Jacob Miles

It was every student’s worst nightmare: back to school night. Last Thursday, kids all around scrambled with their parents in tow from class to class, introducing their teachers. Many fidgeted,  anxious about that awkward moment: what will my teacher reveal about me?

“I think this is great to see how my son is doing in class and see how the teachers are holding up at Mack,” Erica Hardaway, parent of senior Danny Cox, explained.

Many parents trotted around, relieved to know their child was doing fine during the first couple of weeks of school, while other parents reacted with dismay at the prospect that their kid might fail at McClymonds.

At McClymonds, it was also different from last year: more parents participated, mostly parents of freshmen, said leadership and life skills teacher Relonda McGhee. “It was a success because many parents showed up for their student.”

On the other hand, some students remained mixed. “I’m glad my mom didn’t come: who knows what the teachers would’ve said about me,” Deshawn Nelson, a senior, admitted.

Many teachers said they were excited to report about their students.

“I kept it straight-up with the parents. Whether their kid is good or not, I let them know ,” Rashaan Curry, history teacher, stated.

It was a night of truth (and consequence).  Students learned how each teacher felt about them when he or she talked to their parent. “I was able to meet and speak with a lot of parents to inform them of their student’s progress and the things to come in my Spanish class,” said Spanish teacher Colleen Piper.

The consequences might become apparent in the next weeks: will it be the parents following their student children next time instead of vice versa?

EcoCool: Why Some Mack Students Bike to School


by Lee Benson

His gold bicycle shines in the sunlight, as Shaquan “Sip” Washington locks it outside of McClymonds High School. He is one of only a handful of students and teachers who ride their bicycles to school. “It’s not just eco-friendly, it’s practical,” says Washington.

Today is different: no lock, so the sophomore rolls his Schwinn inside and parks it in Officer Humphrey Garret’s office on the second floor.  In West Oakland, where Bikes 4 Life founder Terry Coleman helps kids fix bikes on 7th Street and sometimes organizes Rides for Peace, bicycles take on a different meaning: they are cheap transportation but they can also be also dangerous.

Two bicycle riders were robbed near West Oakland BART on May 8 (and blogged about it).

Just six weeks ago, McClymonds student Frenswa Raynor was riding his bicycle near the downtown area when police mistakenly identified him as a robbery suspect. He was shot in the jaw.

And there are plenty of bicycle thefts. Just a few months ago, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon broke up a major stolen bicycle ring. Police say most of the stolen bicycles are sold at flea markets in Oakland.

So why do McClymonds students (and teachers) ride their bicycles to school? Necessity or style?

“I ride my bike to school everyday because my parents work and do not have enough time to drop me off at school,” says Washington.

For Rahquille”Roc” Jackson, a sophomore at McClymonds, “it’s way more convenient than walking.”  He adds, “I live down the street.”

For Kelton Reynolds, another sophomore at McClymonds, it’s a way to stay in shape. “As a varsity football player, I look for ways to exercise and strengthen my muscles. This is as effective as me running the track around the football field.” Long term substitute teacher Michael Curry claims that ,”I ride my bike to school occasionally because gas prices nowadays are too high to drive to school everyday.”

Billy Stevens, a freshman on the McClymonds basketball team says that it has double benefits for him, too. “I ride my bike to school because I need to save money and I can get my exercise as well.”

Not all students agree. Luckie Lovette, a junior at McClymonds, prefers to walk. “It’s better exercise and I don’t have to worry about where to park it.”