Nick Wheeler ‘ 16 – During my short time in Chicago and at Kenwood Academy I have had some unique learning experiences that would be hard to come by anywhere else. This trip has given me a confidence that I never thought was obtainable. Being able to get on a bus or a train and not be absolutely terrified is an amazing feeling. It has also been a fun experience to work my way through the city and build a sense of comfort where I know where I am going and exactly how to get there.

WheelerAnother mind-boggling experience that anyone who knows me well will never believe is that I have tried food from a few different cultures and actually enjoyed it. I have taken a few leaps of faith this week and tried Middle Eastern, Chinese, and Puerto Rican food. Although it has only been a week, this trip has begun to open me up to many new cultures and the urban way of life.

My time in the classroom has also been a fun learning experience. I have learned different ways of communicating, reaching students, and how important these interactions really are to their lives and learning experience. My favorite part about my time at Kenwood Academy has been watching the students interact with each other and with their teachers. It is so clear when a teacher genuinely cares for a student and that care is then reciprocated with student commitment and learning. More specifically, I have observed and learned effective and unique ways of teaching Spanish to students. This experience has further motivated me and confirmed my desire to become a Spanish teacher.

Everything that I have learned and experienced this week is helping to me to form my ideal future Spanish classroom. One teacher that I observed told me, “Every teacher has a concept of what their classroom should be like, and you have to find yours.” This advice already has me thinking and will undoubtedly stick with me for the rest of my life.