Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day 6 (and a little bit of Day 5)

Thursday May 9, 2013

    I would say it was another successful day in the Big Apple! With our trip days coming to an end we are all starting to realize that we will soon say good bye to the schools and students we have spent the week with. It is sad to think about. Unlike some field experiences where you only see the students for a couple hours and make a surface level connection, spending all day in a classroom for a week with students who find relationships to be one of the most important things, you develop a deeper connection which makes saying good-bye a lot harder.
   I think overall we have all learned some different styles of teaching, different reasonings behind these teaching styles, and how to connect and relate with students so that they are willing to learn from you. Often times when people think of going into a school in New York City they think of the worst things. Non-white students with bad behavior in a run down school and teachers who have no control. The reality is that regardless of whether we are in New York City, Iowa, or anywhere else a kid is still a kid. They go through the same phases in life (such as puberty or the awkward stage) and want to have fun and be a kid. They may have different home lifes, backgrounds, skin color, out of school routines, whatever but an eleven year old is still just an eleven year old and that doesn't change. They still have to learn and have positive role models and that's what educators, and even people like us who are only coming in for a week are for. We are that role model they may not have at home. I think it is so important that as citizens in this country and even people living in this crazy world we remember that.
    Besides our times in school, last evening we went as a class to the Apollo Theatre where they were having amateur night. They start off the evening with jazz music and then four kids below the age of fifteen came out and performed. It was by far one of the best things we had ever seen. The kids were so unbelievably talented it and at such a young age. There was a nine year old girl who sang Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas and it was fantastic. Needless to say she won the first prize of the kids. The night continued with different people performing different songs, playing different instruments, or whatever their talent was. Some of them were absolutely amazing, some not so much. If the crowd did not think they were good they got booed off the stage. I think that in our section we only booed for one person if that, so they all had a fair amount of talent.
   Tonight we branched off and did different things. We had three groups venture and see Broadway shows, Phantom of the Opera, Matilda, and Cinderella. I, however, have not talked to anyone who went to the shows yet so I cannot share much on the experience although I am sure it was fabulous. Another group took the subway over to Central Park and spent the evening there.
  We were lucky enough to have a Wartburg Alumni who is teaching in New York(the South Bronx) come to visit with us and explain the process of going from Wartburg to the city and answer questions we had. We ended the night with a small group of us taking her out to eat at a little bar & Grill. On our way back we stopped by and got frozen yogurt from 16 Handles(Dr. Book bought us some last night and we just needed some more :) ).
  Within these last couple of days many of us are lucky enough to have the opportunity and actually teach within our schools so we have been trying to prepare for that. Which means I need to go write my lesson!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Day 4 in New York: First Day of School!

Today was the day! We had our first day in our assigned schools, and everyone had very different and interesting experiences to share.

The group that went to the middle school in the Bronx told stories about a teacher they adored named Miss V. They shared funny stories about our Miss V. commanded respect from her students and had fun at the same time. They were also excited about taking a field trip to The Bronx Zoo and to a show!

The group in Harlem, at PS 155, an elementary school, discussed how teaching methods and discipline methods differed from those we are used to in the Midwest. This group said that a lot of the teachers were focusing on the standardized tests that were coming up, and the language barrier was an obstacle they needed to overcome.

The group at PS 163, discussed the four programs within the school, the talented and gifted program, the general education program, the dual-language program with Spanish, and the ICT program that integrates students with disabilities in to classes with general education students.

The group at the Ethical Culture school discussed the different learning style that is used at their school. They said that the learning is all student-led learning. The teachers do not lecture, the students are responsible for getting what they want to achieve from the lesson. One of our classmates even has Jerry Seinfeld's son, Julian, in class. How exciting!

The group who went to Marta Valle secondary school, discussed how they were able to help teach actual lessons in the school. Most of them worked in classes with high school students which was an experience that was different from most of their classmates.

We all look forward to what the rest of the week has to bring!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Day 3 in New York

Sunday May 5th, 2013

Midtown HA! Comedy Club
     Happy cinco de mayo! Another busy day for us in the city. We are all wiped and sleepy after our day of service and sight seeing. Without too much detail yesterday some of the places that different people in our group visited were Carlo's Bakery(home of the cake boss), Times Square, Little Italy(yummm!), and Midtown HA! Comedy Club (I heard it was a lot of fun!).
   Today we headed out to different churches in hopes of exploring something outside of our normal types of worship. We attended three different churches (at least that I am aware of). St. Patrick's Cathedral, Grace Episcopalian Church, and a nondenominational church called Crossroads Tabernacle. I think for most of us it was a different experience than what we are use to. The Catholic church was only 47 minutes, which compared to what you think of most the time that is really long. The nondenominational church was an experience unlike many other. People were very welcoming and open with their faith. The service is suppose to be two hours long, the first hour is set for musical worship. Unlike many Lutheran churches people really got into the worship and took it to heart instead of just singing the words and going on with the service.
    After church the majority of our group headed off to the Yankees game, sad loss, but it was a good game. A few of us sat next to a couple that were from northern New Jersey. They were a very friendly couple that were telling us about things they do when they come into the city. We talked to them about the cost of housing in New York City. They said the average price to buy a house was over $200,000, rent per month for a small one bedroom apartment was between $1,000 and $3,000, needless to say we were shocked by the amount. It made us start to think, if rent is that much per month how do people
who make minimum wage are able to afford housing in the city, especially if they have a family.
Carlo's Bakery(Cake Boss) 
   Hard Rock Cafe is located in Yankee Stadium so a group decided to go there. The service was less than impressive to say the least. A think that may be common in a big city, especially in a popular restaurant. Our waiter hardly paid attention to us, messed up our orders, and didn't split our checks correctly. Frustration led to us leaving a bad tip and being quite disappointed with our Hard Rock experience.
  Another group left the Yankees game a little early to head to an Irish dance festival along the Hudson River. They got to experience Irish culture with dance classes and watching various dance groups perform. There were lots of other Irish music, language and art programs as well.
  We also had a group that ventured throughout all of New York City today. They went and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and visited Canal Street and Times Square. When they had crossed the Brooklyn Bridge they looked for the Subway to come back. They were struggling to find it so they asked a traffic director who led them in a complete circle just to find out that the entrance to the subway was only a little ways a way from where they had started.
  The last thing that I was told about, although there were many more, was a trip to Central Park and eating at a Thai restaurant. This group that in their time here, as well as other places, they observed a lot of diversity of all sorts including different nationalities and languages.
View from our seats at Yankee Stadium
  To end our story for today, I thought we could talk about the experiences in the subway. For many of us riding the subway is a new experience and it is an excellent place to people watch and observed different lifestyles. Often times people come in and out of the subway doing different types of performances. Performances we have seen so far have included dancing, singing, and playing different types of instruments. Most of them are interesting to watch, however we have noticed that many locals will not actually watch the performers because if they see you watching them they try and get you to tip them.  The other thing we have noticed is the variety of people who ride the subway. Anybody from Businessmen to homeless use the subway as their main mode of transportation because it is the fastest way to get around the city. Today I saw a Chinese lady reading a newspaper completely in Chinese. I was really surprised because that i
s not something that you would see anywhere but due to all of the different cultures in the city they make the different types of accommodations. It seems like in the subway skin color, language, lifestyle, and background are not significant, everyone rides and there is no problems. I wonder if that will ever be the case for other places.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Day 1 in New York

Friday May 3, 2013

Hola from New York!

   We have safely made it to New York City. For those of us who have not seen it before I think we were quite shocked by the size! We had an interesting change of travel plans due to the fantastic midwest weather we have been having lately (it's nice and clear with no snow in New york). Our original travel plan was to leave from Waverly to Des Moines at 1:45 AM Friday so we would arrive by 4:30 AM.
  Travel Plan change #1- Well due to not so ideal travel conditions Dr. Book asked if we would be willing to leave at 3:00 PM Thursday, she asked us at 9:00 that morning. Needless to say the majority, if not all of us had not even started packing yet.  Our class energy soared and I think we may have lost most of our focus for the rest of class (sorry, Dr. Book :]). We managed to get all packed, the vans loaded, and on the road to Des Moines by 3:30 and spent the evening in the Days Inn.

 Travel Plan change #2- Our flight ended up being delayed leaving Des Moines. The wonderful winter weather pushed our flight back a couple of hours but in the end I think we all appreciated the extra couple hours of sleep!

  We arrived in New York around 2:00 this afternoon. We broke into three groups for shuttles on our way to the Hostel we are staying in. The last shuttle to leave (I can't speak for the rest) had a very interesting driver. He was a tech junkie who had a collection of 18 i-pods containing over 41,000 songs and 700 movies, 4 GPS systems, 5 watches, 2 i-pads, and 2 laptops. He explained all these fancy programs he had a friend set him up with as well. It was an interesting trip.

   After checking in and freshening up a bit we set off for the city! As a class we went to visit the ground zero memorial. It was a very beautiful place to visit. In the places that the buildings stood they created water falls. The water falls down from the top into a large square pool where it slowly lowers to another square. A memorial worker told us that the smaller square is 24 feet deep and that the water cycles through the fountain. On the outside of each fountain is a list of all the people that lost their lives due to the 9/11 crashes. It was definitely a site to see, if you ever venture to New York check it out!

  Next on the list was a visit to Lady Liberty. We ventured towards the Staten Island Ferry and rode that out to see the Statue of Liberty. The first time around it was sunny and bright. The second Ferry ride back we saw her as the sun set. It was very beautiful site. (Again, highly recommended!)

 Most of us are pretty exhausted and ready for an exciting week in the schools and the city, look for more details and stories to come, maybe even some pictures!