These past few weeks have been less adventurous than the first. The busyness of full take over in my 4th grade classroom in Chinatown has been an adventure in and of itself. It has been such a joy to spend time with them and read the work that they create. There have been brief moments of respite however, in between the lesson planning and prepping.
I was able to participate in parent conferences for the first time. My cooperating teacher really encourages each of the students in her class to come with the parents to hear the feedback they are being given in conferences. Often, the students were the ones I talked to directly because many of the parents needed translating services that I cannot provide. I was able to give direct feedback to each of the students in my class. It was a wonderful experience to see how nervous and excited many of them were to show their parents the work that they had accomplished during the quarter.
My teacher has also been treating me to some of the amazing food that can be found around my school. From milk tea to Japanese style curry noodles. She tells me often that she gives so that, “it may be paid forward when the time comes.” I hope to do the same if I ever have a student teacher in my classroom. The cultural aspect of my classroom is very unique to the area that I am in, and it been wonderful to experience that. I find myself asking my students lots of questions about pronunciation of certain names and foods, which they happily and patiently explain to me.
Some of my high school friends came to visit me from Michigan for a weekend. I loved sharing a small taste of this wonderful place with them while they were here. With the convenience of the Lou Malnati’s pizza being right down the street, I was able to give them a taste of Chicago style pizza and take them down the Lakeshore trail to see the city. Trinity friends also visited as I headed back to campus for our formal. I was able to spend time and see people who I had not seen all semester to catch up and share some of my own experiences from in the city.
This month also brought about good news of the edTPA. Our room filled with shouts of joy as the scores came in, signaling another important milestone completed for my roommate and I as our time as undergraduates comes to a close. Now, with only a week and a half left of teaching after our spring break, walking that stage on May 4th becomes a more tangible reality. That brings the reality of saying goodbye to a place that was called home for four years. The reality of entering into a new stage of life without the security blanket of a familiar place to return to. As the weeks move on, I slowly plan for moving after graduation, roommates plan their future living arrangements, and one plans for her wedding. We are all working to make the best use of our time together in the city.