I don’t know if this is going to be a series, like a weekly thing from my last teaching position, or just something that I write when I have the chance. I do know that if my first week was any indication of how it will be for the future, then I’m always going to have something to write about. For those who don’t want to read what may be a really long post, the gist is this: It’s freaking awesome.
I have not felt more confirmed in my choice to become teacher than I have in this last week. This is coming from both my time inside a classroom working with my supervising practitioner (SP) and my time inside a classroom as a student discussing deep philosophical and pedagogical questions about teaching and education. The class that I’m shadowing in is a multi-grade level AP World History. My SP has been really great in letting me not just “shadow” but also participate in various aspects of the classroom environment. Immediately there is a sense of ownership of my time in the classroom allowing me to not only serve as a participant but also as a collaborator. Because her class is only one semester, we are covering themes and ideas of AP World History without going into the minutiae of dates and events. The students later on in March come back and arrange for after school cram sessions so that they become prepared for the test. In my opinion, this allows students to better learn the material as they focus on the themes which allow them to draw connections for the dates and events that they have to memorize. Every Monday through Thursday, I’m at the school by 8:00 am and I leave by 2:30 unless I have class in which I leave early. So far, my commute has revolved around bus and subway, and if I’m running late, then Uber or Lyft (usually Lyft).
The first week mainly involved getting to know the class and also figuring out how I can contribute in the classroom. Because my SP is also piloting a 1-to-1 laptop program with Chromebooks, I’ve also been assisting with some of the technical aspects of what that entails as well. Everyday I’m usually helping with the lesson planning and then as the day goes on, I take more responsibility. On Friday, I also went to the school because they were going on a field trip and I wanted to participate as well. We went to the Harvard Art Museum, to check out their Neolithic gallery, which is just across the street from the school which makes it really convenient for field trips.
At Tufts, I’m taking four classes all of which have really pushed me to contemplate and really think about the field that I’m getting into. I’ve had so much fun talking about various questions about what is education and the purpose behind it. All questions that I’ve thought of but never really had time to really explore. Being in this environment where there are so many inquisitive minds and exciting perspectives, has really brought new life into this place of study. It’s actually fairly hard to put all my feelings into words because it’s all so new and undiscovered.
In other news, after my first day of classes, I took a friend from NorCal who goes to school in Boston, to a Blue Jays vs. Red Sox game at Fenway. It was her first baseball game and I had gotten the tickets via another friend who said their parents couldn’t go. We sat in the right field pavilion, just along the foul line. We had a really fun time! Though, to my chagrin, the game didn’t end at the 9th inning. So we stayed, and stayed, and stayed all the way to the end of the 18th inning. By then it was already 1:00am and we felt that we had stayed enough. Funnily enough, the game did end, at the end of the 19th with a run scored by Boston. By the time I got back to my room it was around 1:30. I told my friend that this game was lucky. She got to see two games for the price of one!
Finally, before I wrap up, I want to introduce a new section of these posts. In all of my classes, I’m finding that I’m reading some really exciting and awesome texts about education and I want to share them with you all. Most will be no longer than 5-10 pages, but I highly encourage you to read them and just have a conversation about it. Today, I’m posting a speech written by a Civil Rights activist named James Baldwin called A Talk to Teachers. It’s a speech given to New York City schoolteachers as a plea to join the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It’s a fairly interesting and short read.
Well, that’s it for this week. I know this was a fairly long post, but I think it just represents how excited I am about what I’m involved in. Schools, InterVarsity, church, it’s all part of my time here in Boston and I look forward to writing more and sharing about what’s going on in the future!