Our day started out with a bus ride to a boarding school for low income middle- and high-school students. Upon entering, I was highly impressed with the facilities. The dorm rooms looked much nicer than my freshman dorm at Gettysburg. You could tell there was significant outside investment in order for this school to work (considering it was a public school.) One of the first thoughts I had related to the financials behind it. Obviously this model is not financially feasible district-wide. It makes me wonder whether it would be more beneficial to disperse the money evenly among all of the schools within a certain district. The matter is more complex than that but it still poses an important issue.
After our trip at the boarding school, we conducted our final College and Career Institute session with our seventh grade students. They were relatively well behaved for the last day. The highlight of this session was their reception to the mock job interviews. I was pleasantly surprised by their enthusiasm and responses to the questions we asked. It is very encouraging and I hope that translates into a passion for a long-term career. Now all we have left is their final presentations. I hope their presentations go well so the week ends on a positive note. We ended the night with our trip to the Afghan restaurant. The food was surprisingly tasty. It is always good to try new things so I am happy we gave it a shot.
The day started out with a visit from a reform school (they shall not be named). Some of the representative’s comments made the school sound like it was dehumanizing the students involved (especially some of the terms they utilize). However, it was not all negative. It is good to see they are a very successful school in terms of standardized testing scores. Also, many of these students are attending college. At the end of the day, testing scores is the most important factor. I am hopeful more schools are able to learn a lesson from this model and garner more long-term success.
Today was the day I had to run my lesson plan. I was pleasantly surprised on how well the session played out. Due to the experiences we had, we as a group were able to adapt to the dynamics of the room. We decided to change up the seating in order to have a better response from the students. I believe it worked and hopefully this will lead to continued success tomorrow. They seemed genuinely interested in learning about college. After the session we decided to try out a local specialty, Chap’s Pit Beef. It was delicious even though I am now struggling to keep it down. But it was well worth it.
This morning was an adventure to say the least. After feeling relatively awake at 6:45 this morning, I came to the realization that it was raining outside. I did not bring a jacket or umbrella so my clothes were pretty damp. We took the public bus, which went over smoothly before arriving at the school. I felt very welcomed by the administration and teachers. We were introduced to our student tour guides who were all very nice as well. Upon entering the classrooms, I was immediately surprised by the atmosphere. Some of the classroom tendencies were similar to the urban education stereotypes we have reviewed in class. Students would nonchalantly show up thirty minutes late to class and the teachers would say nothing. During a few of the classes, I found the teacher to be taking more class time making sure the kids were behaving rather than teaching. There were some students who you could tell were very motivated to learn and go to college. I appreciate how they are able to separate from some of the craziness involved at the high school. The low point in the trip came when Adam and I were leaving the high school. It was down pouring outside and the bus took ten minutes to arrive. We were soaked from head to toe and shivering until we arrived at the hostel and were able to change and take showers. After some food, we were recharged and ready to conduct our second day session at Midtown Academy.
As a group, I certainly believe we felt a different dynamic with the group today. Collectively, they seemed to be less motivated to follow our directions and in turn they did not complete the work to our expectations. I brainstormed why this may be the case and think it was because we were too comfortable with them the first day. They were able to see what they can get away with while continuing to push the limit. Tomorrow we need to set the precedent at the beginning of the session. It was frustrating but I think it is correctable. The night did end on a happy note; everyone from class went to Five Guys and as always I ate too much. If you haven’t realized yet, I will absolutely be talking about food everyday.
We arrived safely in Baltimore around noon. Our first stop was the hostel. After peering into the room, it will certainly be interesting sleeping with seven other individuals in one room. I am a little concerned because I am a light sleeper but have brought my beauty mask to help me in my quest of the coveted eight hours. Most of the group walked over to Midtown Academy from the hostel. We got slightly lost but in the end were able to find the school with relative ease. Upon entering the school, I found our reception from the students to be positive. The Assistant Principal provided us with a background of the school. We then broke up into our groups and observed different classes. I found this part of the day to be a little slow and now have a new appreciation for prospective teachers who are required to complete observation hours.
After the observation period, we made our final preparations before welcoming the students. I found the students to be initially shy but they became more and more vocal as the first session progressed. Our group (shout out to Sara, Amada, and Anthony) did a great job of conducting the session. By the end, the students were highly engaged and genuinely interested in hearing about what we had to say. The students were most excited about their visit to Gettysburg in April. I do not blame the students, as I would have been excited to visit a college if I was in middle school. The session concluded and we had a wrap up discussion as a full class. Most of us then walked back (there was a lot of walking today) and changed before going out for dinner. I went with a small group to Chipotle that hit the spot (they need one in Gburg). Now I am winding down before going to bed early. I have to wake up at 6:45 (maybe I should have chose the elementary school option) tomorrow morning to make to the high school. This is uncharacteristic of my typical schedule at Gettysburg College. Coffee will be the top priority tomorrow morning.
Hi this is Mr. Kirby reporting from Baltimore, Maryland. This is my first time blogging so hopefully you can bear with me. This Baltimore experience will certainly be unique for me considering this is also my first time creating and executing a lesson plan. I do not have an academic background in education as I am a Management major and Business minor. I am sure there will be some hiccups throughout the week but I am confident my team and I will have a very successful week with the students from Midtown Academy. I am hoping the students are excited and ready to engage in our team’s “curriculum” for the week. Furthermore, I am hoping they take as much out of this week as I plan to.