My day began at 6:30 this morning- definitely an early start for me. And like every other Tuesday in the Pennsylvania/ Maryland area, the rain was coming down hard. After finding a nice jolt of caffeine for the morning, half of our class group made it successfully (although soaking wet) via bus to a vocational technical high school. Our day started off interestingly given that people were unaware that we were visiting and shadowing students for the morning. But, around 8:30, we were paired up with students from the high school and let them show us a morning of their life in this school (which we will be using for a student case study paper for the class).
My student was a junior boy, who’s trade at the technical school is business. We arrived at his first class, biology, where the students were working on genetics (blast from the past), but the teacher could not control her class. Students were walking in 20,30, even 40 minutes late, sleeping (like the drooling kind) on their desks, running around the classroom, texting, cursing up a storm, and doing everything but their work. If the teacher confronted them about it, they would just sass her back and she could barely get a sentence out before having to yell at another student. During the first few days of Urban Ed, we discussed stereotypes of urban education based on movies, tv, or anything we had previously been exposed to, and I was suddenly wide-eyed and a little bit shocked that I was surrounded by those stereotypes. The boy I shadowed was very reserved, and as his teacher pointed out to me after class, didn’t let himself get caught up in misbehaving. Although he struggled with his punnet squares, he stayed somewhat focused. I spent his lunch period (which is at 10AM) and math class getting to know the student even more and found out that he wants to open his own martial arts business. He hopes to go to business school at Johns Hopkins in 2 years.
After a nice bowl of soup to warm us up after being caught in the rain and a short rest at the hostel, we headed to Midtown for Day 2 of our career institute. The kids had great feedback from day 1 and were excited for another fun day of activities and learning. We focused the day on options after highschool: college/university, the military, and technical schools. We played some games and talked about these options. Rex did a wonderful job leading our day, where we had the heaviest lecturing and keeping the students engaged! Tomorrow is my day to lead, and although I’m a little nervous- the fact that a student told us “I wish this program was everyday for the rest of the year. I went home and talked for hours last night with my family about how much fun I had” made me feel energized to lead a busy day tomorrow!!