Today I started my service learning project at Cranston East high school in Cranston Rhode Island. I decided before entering the school that I really wanted to try different aspects of different classrooms that I was interested in pursuing as a career. I chose a sophomore social studies class I chose a phys ed and health class and I also chose a special ed classroom.on my first day there I started off in the social studies classroom, I was able to sit to the side of the teacher while the kids took a test on what I had previously learned in the past weeks it was cut short due to somebody in the School pulling the fire alarm. After everyone was out of the school and the building was cleared to go back in the period was basically over leaving me not much time left. The next classroom I was in was the Phys ed and health classroom. In this class it was a senior lifting class. At this point they were in the weightlifting room doing different circuits whether or not it was free weights jump ropes push-ups Burpee's.
My next time at Cranston East high school, I decided that I was going to choose specifically the special ed classroom to focus my time in, because I know for sure that that is what I want to get into his future career. In this class I was able to sit on the rug with the students, we we're going over basic notecards of words and pronunciations of words and they were writing the words down in their notebook. The teacher did introduce me as a Rhode Island College student, and that day I was faced with one of the most difficult questions that I really didn't know how to answer. While sitting with a group of students, I was asked the question quotation marks am I ever going to go to college to?. I honestly had no idea how to answer that question I just kind of smiled and try to change the subject as much as I could. One of the teachers that was in the classroom heard the question and noticed how I really didn't know how to answer so she also helped me guide the student away from the question that she had asked. After being with the students, it makes me more and more excited to work with special needs students. I knew after working in the family member that has autism that I was extremely interested in special-education, but now I know for sure that this is a future career for me.
My service learning took place at Cranston high school east. This is located on Park Avenue in Cranston. Cranston East was not new to me, although I did not attend Cranston East, my dad is the vice principal. This high school was massive to me, it has multiple floors and buildings, it was baffling. The surrounding neighborhood wasn’t bad although the school was located on a very busy road. Also there wasn’t a large parking lot due to the fact that a lot of the students don’t drive to school. They don’t have fields close to their school or on the property, so they have to take busses to use the outside track and field. The classroom that I am located in is in the front side of the building. It’s about a 20 x 25 size room with around 15-20 desks in it. The classroom is facing the main road on the first floor. There is a black board to the front side of the room, as well as a few half round tables under that. There is also closets, these are located o the back wall. The room is bright and the walls are filled with learning utensils. When we finished our unit the collages that the students made were hung up on one of the walls. It was hard for me to see much of language and culture in my classroom because I was in a special ed classroom, but being in my dad’s office I saw how common the Spanish speaking language is and how Hispanics dominate the makeup of the school. I feel safe in this school, I think that also because it is so familiar to me. This school is nothing like my high school. My high school was all white snobby people and the building was all one floor. My graduating class wasn’t even half of East’s graduating class.
Demographics and Diversity
The racial and ethnic background of the school consists of 42% white, 7% African American, 10 % Asian, 36% Hispanic, 4% multiracial, and 1% Native American. Also 60% of the school uses subsidized lunch. Since I was in a special ed. class, my room was decorated differently than another classroom would be decorated as. When you walk into the school, everything is beautifully represented, there are showcases lining the main hall, showing every sport team and clubs trophies and awards, also there are murals up and down every hallway. Each mural depicts every ethnicity and leave no one out. There is a beautiful one down near the music and band area as well. Demographics haven’t really influenced my experience at all. I feel as though my classroom is like its own little school, its isolated from what the rest of the school is learning. I was grateful to still be able to get experiences seeing parents interact with my dad and with their children. There are usually a lot of language barriers and sometimes the kids even interoperate for the parents.
I have been able to see multiple authors in my classroom, although it has been a little difficult. My classroom consisted of students with autism spectrum disabilities and severe learning disabilities. Being a part of this classroom made me think back to the Kliewer article. It was about keeping students, similar to those I have had in both classrooms I had been in, from not having the chance to be integrated into non disability classrooms. The unit that we covered while I was there with body language. Maybe the students could have been better off getting a chance to see the body language they were learning about by being integrated into at least one classroom, this could allow them to see what they were learning in real life. Keeping these students totally isolated, might be beneficial for their disability, but not allowing them at least some interaction in a non-disability class is almost as bad as tracking, as highlighted in Oakes’s article. This unit was definitely a good example of Lisa Delpit’s rules and codes of power, they were learning how to read body language. I was also able to see Collier, but not in my classroom. When I do go to see my dad in his office he sometimes has students who can speak English but either prefer speaking Spanish because they might not remember some words in English or in other cases do not speak English at all. I have to say my dad never forces them to speak English if they’re not comfortable with it, which would make Collier proud, he usually uses the interpreter they have or if she’s not there he uses google translate.
What kind of teacher do you want to be?
After working in the classroom that I did, I definitely feel as though I want to be in that exact type of classroom. Just to be able to see the progress the kids make every time I went in, was truly rewarding. I want to be just like the lead teacher Mrs. Ruggeri. She is so patient and kind and is just such a role model of how I want to be with my students one day. Being in this classroom made me think back to the promising practices key note speaker when he said, “I may not want to go to work today, but today might be the day I say or do something to make a difference in someone’s life”. That applies to me in two ways, the first way is that, that could be me I could be the one to make a difference in someone’s life, but after being with these students I can’t help but think that they are the ones who will make a difference in my life daily. I know a lot of people say it is rewarding to be a teacher, but I want to be the kind of teacher that not only teaches their students but truly learns more from them day to day. A teacher is never done learning, it all in how you look at it all to see the lesson.