May 22nd, 2008
Dave Dale, former staffer and alum of Chicago Center (when it was Urban Life Center) stopped by with a special guest!
May 20th, 2008
Students met over Chicago-style deep dish pizza and then headed out for an evening downtown. Here they are at the Sears Tower. Welcome to Chicago!
in the elevator
photos by Erin Spahr and Shane Peterson
May 8th, 2008
Arvis Averette, BSW Practicum Director took his students out for a farewell dinner. Scott Chesebro, Executive Director and Valerie Wallace, Administrative Director (not pictured) joined them. A couple of folks had to leave early – we missed you!
May 8th, 2008
On the last day of the term students met again as a group, and shared stories and experiences…I tried to capture some of them to share on the blog.
– I student taught at DePriest Elemetary on the West Side (Austin neighborhood), which is pre-K through 8th grade and some older special needs kids (which next year will be in another school). I worked with the 6th grade and primary self-contained 4th grade special needs which included emotional and behavioral disorders, autism spectrum and mild mentally handicapped kids. I thought it was a great practice to prepare me for my new job in New York City at PS 176 which a school for autism spectrum kids.
– I worked a Sarah’s Shelter, a day shelter for women. The clients were 20 years old and older and mostly African American. The shelter provides laundry, shower, computer, mail, phone services and case management. I know now I want to work in a nonprofit or social work situation.
– I worked at Lifestyle Physical Therapy, which specializes in vestibular and other balance disorders. This internship reaffirmed that I want to do physical therapy.
One of my clients was a firefighter with an injured shoulder. When he came he couldn’t lift anything. Now he’s back on the job. Yesterday he passed all his ability tests and he pulled me aside and said Thank you.
My boss offered me a position as a patient representative so that’s what I’ll be doing this summer.
Reuben – I worked for the Chicago Park District’s Mobile Recording Unit. We went to different parks in the city and provided audio and digital production help and taught classes at Hamilton Park Fridays and Saturdays, helping young people make their own beats. I’m very interested in this now – working with kids in a music environment.
Sara - I worked in public relations for Deeply Rooted Productions, a dance studio focusing mainly on African style dance with awareness of civil rights, AIDS, violence. I realized I really don’t want to spend my life doing public relations!
– I worked at the Better Boys Foundation doing school social work counseling. I had 6 clients and learned a ton. I want to go into school social work and working with kids.
– I was with the Department of Child and Youth Services. My supervisor was an attorney, so my site combined my interest in law and social work. I learned about how social work programs are funded and learned a lot about policy. I’ll be starting at Washington University for graduate school in the fall.
– I was with Heartland Alliance in the Refugee Resettlement program. I learned a lot about different cultures and how things are done outside the United States. I want to go into international human rights work for graduate school. My clients were from Burma, Liberia, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, Columbia. In my ESL class there were 15 languages spoken among 30 people. On the last day of the ESL class, we took the class to the zoo. Each group of people found their respective animals. The Burmese went to the sea lions. The Burundians went to the giraffes. I was stunned that they stayed there for 1/2 an hour or more with their animals and I realized that finally, they had found home in this giant city. It made me realize how much each of them was going through, that they had to completely start over here. Finally, for 1/2 hour, they found some peace.
– I was at Free Street Theater, a program for after-school and on weekends. I was surprised at how modern the theater program was – for example, we taught a class about releasing the mind’s creative impulses – I had thought theater was all about Shakespeare or something. We did a lot about how acting philosophy impacts life. Our students were mainly black but they were also from all over the Chicago.
Matt E – I worked for the Jerry Spring Show, downtown. It was fun. I came into the program as a journalism major but now I want to study TV and radio production. The first 2 weeks felt like the movie “The Devil Wears Prada” because it was so crazy. I got to run the camera, and help with all kinds of things. Once I was a fake guest on the show. I got a summer job offer at SCORE Radio.
Megan – I taught music at South Shore School of Entrepreneurship. It was mostly African American and some mixed kids. It’s a great school and I absolutely loved it there. This is the first year they have music after three years of not having any, so my 24 kids in the choir and general education music classes were seniors. I’m going back to Boston because I miss it, but I definitely want to teach in an urban school
Jessica – I worked at Sunlight African Community Center, which meant I worked with children of African immigrants. I was mainly working with the after-school program. Working with the kids was such a positive experience that now I’m thinking about becoming a teacher. I also want to work in international aid…or social work…or teaching!
Breanna – I was at Oscar DePriest Elementary. The kids didn’t have any conflict management and there was lots of drama in my two classes. Soon I’m going to be in a self-contained class or Montessori school, observing. I think I’ll be better with a self-directed classroom or one-on-one.
– I student taught at Sawyer Elementary, K-8. It was a neighborhood school, about 98.4% Latino. 99% of the kids were on a free or reduced lunch program. I was a travelling teacher who taught art to 1st through 8th grade, every day. I saw 1,100 kids a week. I had never experienced an elementary school that big – it was bigger than my college. This summer I’ll be teaching ESL. I can’t imagine going back to suburbia and staying. I’d like to have my own classroom, so I’ll be looking for a high school position.
Holly – I was at Kenwood Academy, predominantly black kids, some Latino, some Asian, some white. Kenwood also has a 7th and 98th grade so some of my music classes were 7th through 12th graders. I fell in love with my students. They taught me to intrinsically become who I am; I don’t have to put on another had to be a teacher. I learned a lot about classroom management.I learned form my students that kids perceive more than we think. I learned that if kids think they’re being cheated by the teacher, they lose respect for the teacher. They look at how hard the teacher works, how well they plan to make sure the kids get what they should be getting. I have a job line up in downstate Illinois. I’m thinking now about what I can transfer from this experience to rural white kids about the bigger world.
– I was at Morgan Park High School, which is 99% African American. At first I really hated it – my kids pushed my buttons very effectively. I learned to be effective by giving them respect and trust. I’m really going to miss my kids. I’m going to be living north, so I will be looking in the north part of the city or the northern suburbs for a position.
Andrea – I was at Morgan Park High School, teaching Spanish and Social Studies. I’ve got a job lined up in Omaha and I’m planning to go to the University of Nebraska for my master’s degree in Education. My new job will pay for it.
Britt – I taught art at Chavez Multicultural Academy, preK – 4th graders, mostly Mexican and Mexican American. My Spanish got better. The kids were so sweet, so funny. This fall I’ll be going to Drexel University to study art therapy.
Bryn – I taught at Juarez in Pilsen, mostly Mexican kids. I learned a lot about Mexican culture. I taught earth science to 9th graders. I learned I want to stay in the sciences. I learned how culture is important in education. I came thinking kids just want to have fun, and then they’ll learn. But I learned that they expect us teachers to provide guidance, to provide structure. I’ve started the job application process – I’m open to going wherever!
Stephen – My internship was with Cook County Courts and the Public Defender’s Office. I did intake daily on everyone who’d been arrested and shipped to Cook County. I interviewed them and those interviews were used in order for them to obtain bond. I also worked with public investigators, talking to witnesses and victims, and sometimes (rarely), offenders. This internship really helped me because I want to become a police detective.
Chris – I interned with the Division Street Business Development Association, which is in the Puerto Rican neighborhood. I know I want to go into community development and get a job speaking Spanish. I learned a lot about how community and economic development relates to cultural groups. I had a lot of fun.
Rebecca – I did my practicum at Featherfist, a homeless organization. They have a ton of programs, teaching job skills, finding shelter, housing, and street outreach. I learned not to always take people at face value and learned to pick up on what isn’t being said.
May 5th, 2008
Program Director Emily Nelson says, “This discussion gives our student teachers the opportunity to share their concerns and questions about teaching with teaching professionals who came to the city through Chicago Center, found jobs, and have successfully made the transition to having their own classrooms, navigating not just a new school but the CPS system. The support current student teachers gain for their own ambitions through the alums’ experiences is invaluable.”
photos by Shane Peterson
May 2nd, 2008
Academic Semester students Jessica and Erin created this fabulous poster for their media project in the “Chicago Communities and Cultures” Seminar.
“We actually have been building similar “mural walls” on our bedroom walls with newspaper clippings that have caught our attention politically, emotionally, artistically, etc. The project is definitely a micro version of those, as our bedroom murals are much more extensive.
“In the poster, we wanted to incorporate the four main ideas that Erin and I have become the most passionate about here in our Chicago term (Gentrification, Arts, Social Awareness, and Politics). We both felt that in many ways there are positive and negative tensions within all of those categories and we attempted to show those through newspaper clippings that we had been collecting throughout the term and quotes that had distinctly stuck out in our experiences. The brick wall with graffiti writing ties back in to our mural wall part of this term. These four ideas Erin and I are going to continue to be involved in past this term in Chicago.”