Apprentice makes a compelling arguement for your participation below!
When I first met Sheldon in August, he could not read. He was working on blending sounds and matching letter names to letter sounds. We worked tirelessly on the “ch” sound, to the point that I heard “ch-ch-choo!” in my sleep! Around October, Sheldon picked up a book and excitedly threw it in my lap during our breakfast time in class.
“Ms. Simpson, I can read these words,” he shouted with the most vibrant toothless smile.
As Sheldon read to me, I felt myself tear up. He had done it! He had also taught me what it meant to persevere. Sheldon’s persistence, even when he saw others around him were reading faster than he was, even when he had to stop and ask for help, and even when he felt overwhelmed by new sounds and words, reminds me that we all have to try and try harder.
I came to teaching by a series of fortunate events. At Trinity College, I studied Educational Studies. What I learned, among many other things, was that if we are to dismantle the cradle to prison pipeline that disproportionately claims Black and Latino boys, we have to get our students to love learning and we have to teach them correctly. Setting our students up for a lifetime of success was clearly imperative. But I thought that someone else would be responsible for doing the actual teaching. I was desperately running away from teaching. I was afraid. But as my studies continued I was confronted with the question: “what if we supported our students in a way that helped them to love themselves and their studies?” In fact, what better place for me to help do this than in the classroom?
Enter the Urban Teaching Corps. I found this program while I was searching for a post-graduate experience and fell in love immediately with its mission. With the support of a teaching coach, a cohort of fellow Apprentices, and workshops that help enhance our practice, I have felt that this work is exactly where I was supposed to be.
I wonder about what my world will look like in the next ten years. I know that I want there to be more Sheldon’s in this world. I want more of our students to have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I want them to be so excited to come to school that they sing self-composed songs about friends and teachers in the cubby area, as Sheldon frequently does. I want more students, no matter where they are, to feel that they can do great things; that they matter. For every Sheldon in this world, there must be a patient and innovative teacher. There must be support systems like the Urban Teaching Corps to remind us of the beauty and necessity of this work.
I ask that you join us in our effort to change the world by teaching. Won’t you please make a donation?
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