Daniel Hoover ’15 - As we are wrapping up our week in Chicago, let me first say that I am so grateful and blessed that I have been able to partake in this education learning experience. I will say that Chicago is a whole different world than where I grew up, but it has been an eye-opening experience overall. I am placed at De La Salle Institute, which is private catholic school a block away from US Cellular Field. Interestingly enough, my school has two gender-based campuses, so I have been able to relate to my students well considering we are both in all male institutes.
One of the best parts about this trip in the classroom has been able to experience such diversity in the classroom. De La Salle accepts an even amount of white, Hispanic, and African-American students. Having been able to co-teach these wonderful students has opened my eyes in terms of how different people have grown up. It has been a pleasure to experience different cultures in the classrooms.
This week, we have been studying a unit over the Renaissance Era. Specifically, today we talked about the Reformation and Martin Luther. At the end of the class, I was able to discuss with the students what they would like to reform. I was quite impressed when the students said that would like to do work in the community to reform some of the problems that Chicago faces. It was extremely thrilling listening to high school freshman so engaged in wanting to perform in the community.
Yesterday (Wednesday) we had the privilege of exploring the Museum of Science and Industry and what it had to offer in terms of education. Before, I had never really thought of putting a museum in a lesson plan. However, the museum taught me how to incorporate possible field trips in the future.
Overall, this week has been an amazing experience. It has really opened my eyes to urban education. Since the trip began I have really enjoyed working with my students and it really has changed my perspective on urban education. Again, I would like to thank all the alums who have made this trip possible.
Patrick Rezek ’15 - Well, Tuesday was day two of our week-long immersion trip in Chicago. My host school is Kenwood Academy, a public, magnet school that for students grades 7-12. I have been placed in a 7th grade English class with a general class size of 42! This can get a little crazy at times, but the students are good at helping calm each other down when it’s time to get work done.
My class just started a unit over The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. The novel is full of short, little vignettes that are meant to give a snapshot depiction of Esperanza’s life as she struggles through adolescence. Its is a perfect time for these students to be reading this short novel because many of them struggle with the same problems that Esperanza does. We haven’t gotten much of the reading done, but we have been engaged in deep conversations and debates over important themes presented in the novel: family, identity, gender/race, lifestyles and expectations.
I have had some of the most unexpected and inspiring stories about the lives of these students and what they go through every day, and it’s an experience that you cant get anywhere else besides being in the classroom with them. My host teacher has created such an environment where the students are able to open up and discuss real life problems as they also see them applied to literature.
I look forward to teaching a full day of lessons Wednesday and Thursday! The experience of co-teaching in Chicago has opened up a new door for me in terms of both my options as a career but also my passion – my desire to help those students who really want to do well and continue their own educational growth, but may not have the money or resources to do so. Thank you to those alums, faculty, and current students who continue to donate financial support for immersion trips such as this one. It has truly been rewarding and inspirational!
Connor Hammerle ’15 - Monday was the first day we student-taught at our host schools in Chicago. The school that I will be teaching at this week is Collins Academy which is a turn-around school for high school students. For today’s lesson, my sophomore class began working on their final immigration project for the semester. The last few weeks the students have been learning about the process many immigrants go through to become citizens in the US and their project places them in the position of a person who wants to come to the US and must to decide if they will come legally or illegally.
I personally spent the day working with the students individually and helping them brainstorm different scenarios that could play out for the particular immigrant they had selected. All of the students I worked with today were engaged with me, the teacher, and the prompt they were given. It was refreshing to see students that genuinely cared about their education. One of the best interactions I was able to see between one of the teachers and a student was listening to my host teacher ask students about their weekend and then pestering them when he felt their answer wasn’t sufficient. He pushed them to actually talk to him about their weekend and I could see the appreciation in their eyes, although they tried to hide it.
Even on the first day I can see the connection between my host teacher and the class, and how important it is to the students to have someone in the school that they know is genuinely invested in their success. Working with the students in Collins has been a great experience so far and has really opened my eyes to the possibility of teaching in an intercity in the future.
Cody Buresh ’15 – The day began early for all of us this morning. We have had the privilege to ride the Amtrak into Chicago, which was a new experience for most of us. After arriving to the train station the group made its way to the hostel that we will be staying in for the rest of the week. When we reached the hostel we had a brief meeting about our one-day experience prior to this trip.
Our group was getting settled in Chicago and getting mentally prepared for the week ahead. The best way to get to know Chicago and feel more comfortable with the city is to have a dinner with some of our amazing alumni. The friendliness, connections, and just all around love of Wabash when talking with our alumni always blow me away. The community feel of Wabash only seems to grow over time. We dined at Tufano’s, an Italian restaurant with a great environment to talk about our past endeavors and what our future entails. It was amazing how natural all of the conversations were between the current students and alumni present.
The simple factor of Wabash College brings individuals from many different backgrounds and experiences together as big community. All of the current students are excited to have the opportunity to actually teach and observe urban education. This new experience of education with an unfamiliar environment and diversity will most definitely enrich our learning and teaching ability for the future.