21st century skills education reform reflection student engagement teaching

Notes from the Field – Preface

With my Teaching Fellowship at a close, I look back at the past two years with pride, mixed feelings, and a   I wouldn’t dare use the term accomplishment, some days were just too real, I felt like quitting , I felt like I wasn’t making a difference, I felt like some of my students deserved so much more than I could give them or my program could deliver, or that their parents could give them.
Most recently my 6th grade girls, most of them had immigrated to Newark,NJ as a result of the Haiti earthquake and they were so amazingly intelligent and funny, sponges : absorbing English and excelling in mechanics, usage and grammar skills more so than there American-born peers. Middle schoolers are a special age to engage, they have mood swings, they are on the cusp feeling like they are adults and know it all so they are infinitely stubborn. At the same time , they are so sensitive, they want to fit in, they want to be loved – they put up a front – they have to growing up where they do- they wear their “tough” mask, their mask of apathy. Both myself and my teacher colleagues managed to get glimpses in to their struggles and see them for who they really are.

My Haitian girls were so enthusiastic for Citizen Schools , they took the lead in their apprenticeships- hands-on learning projects that focused around a specific 21st century skill. Apprenticeships were taught by a volunteer ( Citizen Teacher) from the community that I helped recruit. I had the opportunity to oversee these projects , curricula and drive mastery toward our semi-annual showcase the WOW! What a whirlwind it has been, I never had a chance to reflect on this dense, emotionally and professionally challenging experience therefore I plan to reflect via this blog platform-  so called ‘notes from the field’  excerpts from my experiences complemented with images from the past two years and informed by education reform/non profit management articles as they apply.

Citizen Teacher from a Lotus Yoga , based in Newark leads the class in tree pose.
“Go with the Flow”- Yoga apprenticeship practices for their performance at the Spring 2011 WOW!

http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/the_missing_link_in_school_reform/

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