Noelle: Which was appreciated. When I came in, I noticed Capital One Bank. Tell me, is that part of your financial literacy program? Is It part of bringing the community in?
Priyank: Capital One Bank was something that started a couple of years ago and they had two major impacts. Definitely, we wanted the community to come in. The other thing was the opportunity for students to have jobs. We actually have two students who work at Capital One Bank. What they do is they attend their classes and then the days they work at Capital One Bank, they make up that work for whatever they missed.
It's a great way to get the students ready for the real world, because you have to multitask, you have to be able to do multiple things at once.
This is for juniors, but mainly seniors, and we choose which students will be in this program. And as students are told in advance, this does not mean you get to be basically free from the work or you're excused from any work that you missed. It's just that we want you to have the experience, what it feels like to have a job. And then we want you to be able to, for example, think about when you go to college, most people will be working while they're in college. We want you to be able to have that experience.
The other thing was, we also wanted the students to think about saving money. One of the initiatives, one of the programs that we have with Capital One Bank is, students can open up an account. All they need is their ID and a dollar. And then once they open up an account, the Capital One Bank also matches that or puts in some money, as well. And that way students get used to saving money because we want them to also start the habit of saving money. Because many of them, when they get some money, their first response is to spend that money on something.
I think in the end, it is a great program for the students and also for the community.
Noelle: I think that it's amazing to have that opportunity to work and still do your schoolwork. I know I didn't learn that until I graduated college.
I mean, I know that I had different means. I didn't leave college without a lot of debt because of some of my circumstances.
Priyank: I think it's a great way for them to think about finance because we are a business school. That's a great thing to think about: “Well, I have this money now, how do I save it? What do I do with this, so that I'm making the most of my future?” That was the initiative behind it.
We have a lot of students who took that challenge on. And I think we have a great responsibility to help these students make better financial decisions than they might see in the communities around them.
Noelle: I noticed, getting to watch your sophomores in that math class, [that] you do not bring down or slow down your style of delivery. I want to talk a little bit about the pace and the style and the questioning that I saw from the moment students enter that classroom.
I think I only heard you direct one time, “Remember to get your notebooks.” And then the rest was all academic discourse. Tell me, how have you established that, and how have you taught your students to work towards that pace?
Priyank: The establishment of the norms that I have set for my classroom is just, every single day, you review those norms, you discuss those norms, you have students practice those norms. Because they have seen the same norms repeated throughout the day, they know it. When they come into my classroom, they know where their binders are, they know where to get pencils, if they need calculators they know where to get calculators. I think everything's been established from day one, and I repeated myself several times, of course, in the beginning. Because you know, you say one thing and 30 seconds later, you have questions like, “Wait, what did you just say? I don't remember what you just said.”
So, for example, let's say a kid forgets something. My expectation is for that kid to ask somebody before they ask me. And because I've set the expectation, the students know by now that instead of coming to me, they're going to ask somebody [else] first and if none of them can figure it out, then they have to come to me.
I think it's all about establishing those norms early in the beginning and being consistent with it. I think many teachers forget [that] if you are not consistent and if you fall through or just forget about it, then the kids will, of course, take it easy and you have to kind of start all over again.
And in regard to the way this classroom is set up, we started from an 80 minute class to a 40 minute class. Not only do I want to make sure that I'm covering what's important and what my students will be tested on, but also I want to make sure they're comfortable and confident in their ability to do this kind of math. And for them to be able to be confident, comfortable, I have to give them time to practice it.
A lot of this stuff, I spend at least a couple of hours going through it myself. And I stop to think about, and ask myself, “Where do I see my students getting stuck?” Because if I know that they're going to get stuck, I need to make sure that I have something set in place for that.
For example, the problem today, I knew they were going to get stuck with the equations themselves. So that's why I said, “Okay, now that I have the equations, now I want you to think about these equations. Think about how they were set up. Think about what method they used to set these equations up and talk to each other.”
Because me just telling them is not going to help them. Sometimes I've noticed, and I'm sure many teachers have noticed the same, if I explain it to them a thousand times, they probably won't get it. But if another student explains it, they'll get it right away. So that's why I allow students to explain it to [each other] more than I explain it, because that way, I feel, a lot of them do understand it better.
Noelle: And they're listening. Because one of the things I noticed from where you're delivering instruction and moving, it's almost stealth. I mean, they don't hear you, they don't notice you're there. But you also allow multiple points of entry, and I noticed that hoods on or a head down or not directly making eye contact with you does not make you immediately think they're not engaged.