Teachers’ Biggest Challenge: The Bi-Illiterate Student

Article/Op-Ed in Voice of San Diego
April 28, 2016

Mario Koran wrote for Voice of San Diego about the challenges of teaching Bi-Illerate students:

I was a first-year teacher, in over my head.

With no formal training– and little preparation of any kind – I stepped into a classroom at a school for juvenile offenders. Students didn’t choose to come to my class. The state of Colorado mandated they be there.

It was a difficult school to work in. Teachers cycled in and out. That’s the reason I got the job: The school was short-handed and looking for a warm body with a college degree. I applied for an emergency teaching credential, which allowed me to work so long as I enrolled in night classes to learn how to actually be a teacher.

Every student in class had committed a serious, sometimes violent, crime. Students spent the days in classrooms, like typical teenagers, then returned each night to their bunks at the opposite side of campus.