Opaque Transparency with Tasha Little

About Tasha 

  • Tasha is one of Olivia’s eighth-grade students at Nixa Junior High.
  • She plays basketball and is also a part of a couple of other student organizations.
  • One organization called Sources of Strength works to be a support system for students.
  • Tasha was chosen to be a part of this organization because her teachers felt that she was a good leader and a positive influence. 

What does it feel like to be a junior high student?

  • Most people’s experience as a junior high student is pretty similar
  • Many people pretend to be someone they are not because they are worried about being judged and ridiculed for who they actually are.
  • Tasha feels like most kids are trying to grow into good people but it is a challenging and confusing time. 

Can you speak more about the cliques in the school?

  • It’s like a hierarchy.
  • Those at the top play sports and are friends with those that play sports, and it gradually branches into those that don’t play sports and then to those with more niche interests.
  • The kids are not very accepting and there’s judgment between groups.

Where do you find your connections inside/outside of school?

  • Tasha has a lot of connections through basketball and her mathletes team.
  • Prior to her starting sports in the 7th grade, she was friends with people that some may consider “weird”.
  • Tasha finds connections with those that play sports, but more so with those that don’t care what other people think.
  • She likes people that are genuine. 

What makes you feel like a connection is genuine?

  • Tasha feels that everyone has a mask on to some extent,
  • Though some people have thinner, more transparent masks
  • Making it easier to see their true selves. 
  • Kids wear masks to fit in
  • Tasha thinks it comes from fear of being too different or being judged.

Why do you go to school?

  • Tasha wants to pursue her education in order to be successful
  • She also goes so she can play basketball.
  • While Tasha loves to learn new things and is excited to pursue new challenges.
  • She feels that a lot of other students don’t view it the same way. 

What’s the most crucial part of ensuring learning happens?

  • There are a lot of different education styles that can affect students in different ways and keep them interested.
  • Tasha sometimes gets bored in her social studies classroom because of the way the information is presented.
  • A student could really want to learn something but if the teacher isn’t presenting it in a way that interests them, the student may be less motivated and engaged.
  • The teacher’s passion for the subject has a big influence on the students.
  • Tasha can tell when some teachers just don’t want to be there and it’s hard to be interested in an assignment when the teachers themselves aren’t.

Tasha asks Ryan: What does it feel like to be a teacher that is burnt out?

  • Ryan felt that what he was doing wasn’t meeting his expectations or desires.
  • And he didn’t feel like he could keep showing up every day with that feeling.
  • He wasn’t passionate about the work he was doing. 

There’s been a shift in education in that testing and data collection are very prevalent. What are your thoughts on the classroom environment, and do you feel like you are there to learn or to just take a test everyday?

  • Tasha feels that some of the testing is to make the school look good or to get high ratings.
  • It feels like the students are carrying the load and somebody else is getting the achievements.
  • Tasha imagines that her peers probably feel similarly,
  • But perhaps haven’t thought about it as in depth as she has. 

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