This past summer I worked with Pomona Hope Kids developing and implementing a five week summer program for 40 underprivileged elementary and middle school students in the Pomona area. These 40 students were grouped by reading level into four groups: kindergarten-first grade, second-third grade, fourth-fifth grade, and sixth-seventh grade. I was in charge of developing reading curriculum for the fourth and fifth graders and creating a different math curriculum for each of the four groups. The first five weeks of my internship was spent developing the curriculums. Then the last five weeks were spent implementing and adjusting the curriculums accordingly.
During my time at Pomona Hope I was able to gain experience teaching and learned how to be flexible with my teaching plans. Since I want to teach as a profession after Mudd it was a very valuable time for me to learn about what tactics work and which of my strategies need development. I was also able to learn about developing curriculum and having a plan which is organized in such a way that changes are easily implemented. By developing my own curriculum with the resources provided to me I was able to create expectations for my students and learn how to modify my lessons so that each student was able to reach the expectation I had in place for them. In working with the students I became aware of how flexible my expectations needed to be as well. Not only did I need to be willing to change my plans to fit the students’ needs, but I needed to alter my expectations for the students so they would be able to learn in an environment that was encouraging and engaging for them.
I have also been able to apply the flexibility I learned was needed in the classroom to other aspects of my life, including my own goal setting and plans for the future. Going into the program I wanted to teach high school math, and now after enjoying my time with the middle school students, I realize that I may be better suited as a middle school math teacher. Therefore, I have learned to be organized and have a plan for my own future, but also to be willing to let that plan change and mold into something new if the opportunity arises.
Throughout the program I also built skills in communication and teamwork with my fellow interns and my supervisor. Working as a team we had to create a place for students to come and enjoy a cohesive learning process which incorporated reading, math, computers, science, drama, and gym. Our teamwork and dedication to the program allowed the students to feel welcome and safe in the environment we created. Overall it was a wonderful experience to develop a set of skills which will be useful to me in my career as a teacher, because while the program has caused me to rethink what level of teaching to pursue, it has cemented the fact that I want to teach.