Reflections from Janae Wynja: A CS Student Teacher

Hello! Welcome to the inside scoop of Chicago Semester Student Teaching COVID edition! As you probably know schools look a little different for both students and teachers this year. Since the students are not at school in person, the teachers are also not required to be in school to teach, so I have been teaching from my apartment! This picture is me on the first day of school in my “classroom”. There are going to be so many twists and turns this semester that will bring many challenges but also many joys. I am so excited you have found this, and hope you enjoy coming on the journey with me!

Before I get started sharing about my time here, let me introduce myself! My name is Janae Wynja and I am from Sioux Center, Iowa, where I also attend Dordt University. Sioux Center is a small town of about 7,000 people located in northwest Iowa. I love the community and familiar faces of my little town, but I am already loving getting to meet new people and explore my new home. Student teaching in an urban setting will allow me to experience a diverse environment that I would not have the opportunity to experience in my rural area. This is one of the aspects I am most excited for this semester!

I am pursuing an Elementary Education degree with a Middle School math and science endorsement, as well as a coaching endorsement. Since I have two endorsements, I have the opportunity to be in two different classrooms this semester, both being at George B. Armstrong School of International Studies. Armstrong has about 1400 students with over 40 different languages spoken. I am currently in the 6th grade science classroom where I get to see about 140 students a day, and the second half of the semester I will be in the 8th grade math room. I have already learned so much from both my mentor teacher as well as my students and look forward to what the rest of the semester holds.

One of the best parts of teaching in my apartment is the fact that I am so close to so many things. Through Chicago Semester, students are offered housing in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Honestly, it is the best place to be! We are about three blocks from the lake, three blocks from amazing public transportation, and surrounded by stores and restaurants. It has been fun to explore and have so many options so close. One of my favorite activities thus far this semester is to take a run by the lake. The views are gorgeous as you can see from the picture. This is a great place to work out or even just sit and relax with friends. This is only one of the many great views you can find in Chicago.

I cannot wait to share with you the other places I get to explore during my time here. Talk to you soon!