Today had a nice start. We didn’t have anything on the schedule until 1:30PM, so of course, I stayed up late last night and then didn’t get up until 11AM. It was super nice being able to sleep in. Then I was able to take my time getting ready and at 12PM, almost all of the people in our urban education class headed out to David & Dad’s for brunch. We didn’t get to all sit near each other, but I still had a good time and the bagel with honey walnut raisin cream cheese was delicious!
When we got back to the hostel, we had a representative from one of the many school reform models we’ve been learning about come and talk with us for about an hour. I liked what the school was doing with providing their students a whole new environment and how they would hold their students to a higher standard than what they had expected and grown up with. Parts of their program made me a little uncomfortable because it sounded almost like they were brainwashing the children. But overall, I think they instill really good values. I think even the fact that they give their children the hope of going to college is such an achievement, even if the school itself might not see it that way. Of course, graduating from a four year college is a great achievement. However, when they very idea of going to college seemed like a goal that was too high to reach, even the fact that this program lets their students grasp at being applied and accepted must be a huge step for the students. I worry a little bit whether the standards the program sets are so high that the students feel like failures if they do not graduate from a four year college. It makes me curious how it affects them and how the people who track them make them feel. As the program grows and evolves, I’m sure they will continue to improve though and I hope they begin to get more sponsors to help them.
After the representative left, we all began to head out to Midtown academy. Today was my lucky day and got to ride in the car with Professor Rinke to go to the school. I’ve missed the convenience of cars so much, so I really appreciated it. We got to the school fairly early today. Our group was doing a powerpoint presentation today and luckily, the teacher was still in the classroom and she was able to bring out the projector for us to use. Today’s theme was ‘Where are you going?’. So we talked a lot about their future. We started off with a warm-up called the three-headed doctor, which I think the kids had a lot of fun with. It’s too bad that Ivan was absent today.
After the warm-up, we had them write out where they thought they would be in 5, 10, and 15 years from now. The kids had some really great thoughts and ambitions. Rodney surprised me by saying that he wanted to have a kid at 18 years old. I was surprised, but then I wondered if that was a cultural difference where he is just used to seeing younger people having children. We had a pretty long discussion with this though and I really loved listening to what the kids wanted to do. Kalyn has such a pure motive where she just wants to help people.
Next, we transitioned into our powerpoint presentation where we discussed options for after high school. Doug talked about the army and being an entrepreneur. Then I talked about different types of colleges and tried to explain the importance of it. I went through four different types: Vocational, Community College, Four-year college, and university. Then I quickly explained the difference between public and private schools. They didn’t seem as involved in the presentation as with other activities, but it was probably due to the fact that they were more being lectured at than participating. Still, they did ask some good questions. After the presentation, Charrisha explained the importance of networking and we had them make business cards. Then Charrisha, Doug, Michael, and I each pretended to be a type of business and the kids went around introducing themselves to us and talking about what they could contribute. Afterwards, we gave them some critiques and praises. Finally, some of the kids did not finish using up their cameras and so we took them around the school to use up the last few pictures left since we needed to take them to develop. We finished right on time. Then, after our class reflection, we headed out.
Doug, Liz, Rex, and I all needed to get pictures developed, so we separated from the rest of the group after getting off the light rail. We tried Rite Aid first because it was closest, but it was going to take 1 week for them to develop the disposable cameras. So then we went and found the Walgreens that we had passed the night before and dropped off the cameras. They said they should have them developed by 10AM. So overall, this process took a bit longer than I thought. We didn’t get back to the hostel until about 7:30pm. We had four other people waiting for us at the hostel and we weren’t sure where to eat and so we headed toward Inner Harbor and ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp. This was my first time there and it was really delicious. We didn’t get back until around 9 or 9:30, so today was probably the latest we’ve stayed out. So tired and ready to head to bed now. I hope those pictures are developed and ready tomorrow morning!