The Importance of Flexibility

After a beautiful night’s sleep with my stomach still good of Five Guys deliciousness, I woke up refreshed and ready to start the day!  Early this afternoon, we talked with a woman who was the development and recruitment director of a charter school model here in Baltimore.  We were originally planning to visit the school, but due to state testing this week, we were not allowed in the building of the school.  The school model seemed very branded and like a corporation.  It’s a school where the staff recruits students by knocking on doors of underprivileged houses and talking to families to let them know that this charter school model is available to the kids in the family.  Families sign a contract with the teachers and are expected to be very involved in their kids education.  I think the model had some positive aspects, but definitely did not fit all kids learning styles.  It was interesting hearing about a school where everything is so strict and structured (when kids don’t do homework, they are questioned in front of all of their peers why they didn’t do it as a means of getting them to do it in the future).  The woman had us really thinking critically about this model and there were many reactions from our group about whether the model was too much like a business corporation that took away the personalization of students.

Today, at Midtown was my day to lead the group!  After seeing how effective it is to have students on their feet interacting, I changed our first activity from a discussion into skits.  We had the kids pair up, think of an obstacle that might get in the way of the future, and then write a skit about it.  They got really into it and the performances were really fun to watch.  I was reminded about how important flexibility is in the classroom when the activity took a little longer than anticipated.  We had the students write about obstacles that they have personally faced- and plans changed again when they wanted to share what they wrote with their journals.  It was really cool that they were comfortable enough with us to open up about personal life struggles.  Given that we were running behind schedule, we decided to move our financial aid presentation to tomorrow.  We had the kids experience an activity fair, where we had different stations with a bunch of different college activities around the classroom and they had to come ask us questions about the activity and fill out a worksheet about it.  They seemed to enjoy the activity and are really excited about coming to Gettysburg for a day in April and seeing some of those activities in action.  We segued into having the kids write their own resumes based on the activities they have been involved in.  Explaining formatting and reasons behind writing a resume was a little challenging, but most of our students were able to fill up a page with their accomplishments.  Our last discussion for the day was to get the kids ready for their mock interviews tomorrow.  We had them come up with questions and then talked about proper interview etiquette.  Although they were very chatty earlier in our session, they didn’t have  a whole lot to say for this conversation, so I had to be flexible again and lead it in a couple different directions.  But overall, I thought the day went well!  This week is going by so fast and I can’t believed tomorrow is our last day running the program!!!

-Liz

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