I started the NYC Teaching Fellow’s spring apprenticeship, and it’s been an interesting start. The school I was assigned to was in East New York, 3 transfers, and if everything went perfectly, a little over 2 hours from my house. Clearly, this was not doable with the baby, so I pleaded with the program to switch me. Unfortunately, they denied my request, so after a bunch of brainstorming, we decided to purchase a car, decreasing my commute by 1.5 hours, but increasing the cost to $10.66 a day worth of tolls. So after much scrambling, I rented a car, prepping myself to purchase a vehicle for travel. And then, my amazing family in Virginia, said that they had a little old car that they no longer needed, and that if I could find a way to get it to NYC, I could have it. So I found a place to ship the car, and ta-da, we became car owners for the first time in 2.5 years.
My school, however, was fantastic. My cooperating teacher was also amazing. I was sitting in on a 6th grade science class, where the teacher had four different sections, ranging from high learners to students classified as special education students with IEP (individualized Education Program). Prior to my experience in the classroom, I assumed special education were students who were severely mentally and physically disabled. However, that isn’t true; special education students run the gamut of different diagnoses, from moderate learning disabilities to bipolar disorder to asperger’s syndrome. Each one of these students is assessed, and they are put on a plan, the IEP, that is appropriate for their learning needs.
On day three, I get a call from the NYC Teaching Fellows that I was placed in the wrong school. Because I was accepted into the Blending Learning Institute, I was supposed to be placed in an IZone school, where they implement a blended classroom. The school in East New York was not an IZone school, and therefore I was being transferred to a school in the Bronx, 20 minutes via public transportation from our house!
So now I am at Mott Hall V, in the south Bronx, working with another great cooperating teacher in a blended learning classroom. I am sitting in on a 7th grade class, 3 different sections, again with different learning needs and then two classes of 6th grade computer technology. This classroom has a beautiful SmartBoard, and the students have access to MacBook Pros in most of their classes.
I am just delving into the Blended Learning Institute, so as I learn more about the certificate program, I will post more. However, so far, I am finding the Spring Apprenticeship to be a great learning experience, and I have already had the chance to teach a couple of lessons (and getting great feedback on how to improve my skills).