Reflections from Anna: A CS Student Teacher

A few weeks in to my life in the big city, I can confidently say that I am so glad I decided to take a leap into the unknown Sophomore year when I signed up to do Chicago Semester. It has been quite an eye opening adventure to find and spread my, albeit temporary, new roots into the concrete jungle of the windy city instead of the sprawling fields of my parents’ farm that I grew up in. From navigating the trains and buses to falling asleep with the ever present hustle and bustle of the street below, I have found myself quite at home with the constant shifting of life’s pace that Chicago can bring. My roommates and I have established a routine in our small, but cozy space where we all can live in harmony with one another. I am thankful for their kindness and patience every day as we journey together to discover how to cohesively live together. Although we all are gone for a majority of the time, whether it be our internships or adventuring about the city, it has been so rewarding to be able to head home and debrief with one another about the day.

My first placement for the semester is in a 7th and 8th grade Special Education setting. Because I am a double major in both Special and Elementary Education, I will spend only seven weeks here before switching to another school. As the end of my fourth week approaches, I dread the goodbyes that loom closer. I have grown to love the classroom I am in and feel quite comfortable with the majority of the work that I have to do. Even though lesson planning can be quite tedious at times, it has been exciting for me to design and choose the topics that the students will be learning next. Because of the structure of the classroom, I work with three main teachers instead of just my main cooperating teacher. They allow me to take full reign of the ways in which I want to teach the kids while still providing resources and tips along the way. Working with three teachers has provided me with a variety of perspectives and tools for teaching that push me to explore new methods and ideas. The students have also become much more comfortable with my presence in the room. I really enjoy spending my time with them and working to plan a more individualized teaching routine as I get to know them better.

But placement only takes up my time Monday through Friday. The weekends are mine to do with what I please and it is up to me to make the most of it. I made it a goal when I moved to Chicago that I would spend every weekend to go and see or do at least one new thing (on a budget of course). I am proud to say that I have not given up on this yet and have been able to see some pretty cool places. The first weekend here was spent at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Seeing all that green space made my nostalgic country girl’s heart warm. The following Monday was MLK day and my roommates and I headed down for the free day at the Field Museum. We got to see the infamous Sue in all of her glory. The weekend after was Chicago’s Cultural Center. Here, we were able to get a tour that told of the history of the building and the methods behind the beautiful architecture.

There are so many other things I would love to share, such as Monday night swing dancing, Thursday night fine art events, all of the amazing food, or the wonderful churches I’ve visited but simply don’t have the space to do so. Maybe I can include them in the next post, or I’ll find new adventures to share. I don’t know yet where this next week will take me, but I know that I will be trying to live it to the fullest. God called me to this program for a reason, and I hope to make full use of my time to honor him in all that I do in my new and beautifully complex home. I am excited to share that journey with you throughout the next months.