Methma is a Volunteer Representative for Swearer Tutoring and Enrichment in Math and Sciences (STEMS). As a VR, Methma helps plan weekly meetings for the tutors, which are intended to provide Brown tutors with tools to work more effectively, through tutoring skills, knowledge of current education policy, discussions on the role of a tutor in a classroom, or information about the Providence Public School system. She is currently tutoring in a physics class.
The English Teacher
Michal Clayton worked at D'Abate Elementary School in Olneyville for five weeks this summer as a teacher at D'Abate Summer Camp.
There is nothing that can prepare you for the fear of being completely in charge of a classroom full of children. Children who need to use the bathroom every ten minutes. Children who have to tilt their heads back to look you in the eye. Children who care exactly what you think of them, who want to please you, and who are trying to figure out how.
Five weeks of being completely in charge of a classroom of children is what awaited me at William D’Abate Elementary School this summer. I, along with twelve other equally passionate and equally inexperienced Brown student teachers, worked at the D’Abate Summer Camp, which provides free all day care to K-6th grade children in the Olneyville area of Providence.
Over the course of the camp, I taught English Language Arts to 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders five days a week. I designed and implemented a curriculum of three units: memoir, poetry, and short story. I wrote four lesson plans per day everyday. I created 68 documents of worksheets, reference sheets, games, and draft booklets. I also had to buy a new pair of shoes because my flat sandals couldn’t take the heat (figuratively and literally because there was no air conditioning).
Succeeding as a teacher at D’Abate was the most difficult task that I have ever set out to accomplish. There were days when I was so tired that I couldn’t leave my bed after work and days my voice was hoarse from repeating instructions. There were weeks when Friday simply could not come fast enough.
But then there was the day my student, Jake* looked up from the creative story he was writing about a superhero dog and said with a half smile, “you know Miss M, I’m really starting to like writing.”
And there was a day my academically and behaviorally challenged student sat in his seat for the entire class and completed an acrostic poem all by himself. His eyes glowed as he looked up and announced, “I did it!”
There was the day two fourth grade students of mine asked to stay in during recess and work on the couplet poems they had not finished in class that day. One of these girls liked her poem so much that she asked me to make copies of it so she could present her masterpiece to family and friends.
Then there was the day one of my third graders took the time to tell me that I did a “really good job” of planning spirit week, something I had been prepping for (and stressing over) for quite some time.
And there was the day one of my sixth grade students who spoke almost no English wrote me a note to let me know she wanted to be an English teacher like me when she grew up.
So yes, there is nothing that prepares you for the fear.
But even more so, there is nothing that prepares you for the love.
*Names have been changed.
June 20, 2016
June 13, 2016"I think about opening my mouth to call out goodbye, or to salute her in a traditional sign language farewell. Instead, I stand silently and smile."
Sally Hosokawa is a Community Fellow for Writers’ Group, a Swearer Center Community Program that facilitates creative writing workshops for adults with developmental disabilities. She studies literary translation in the Comparative Literature Department.
May 14, 2016“Club teachers understand us,” she says. “Even though they’re older, they’re not that much older, and so they’re like us and we can identify with them and talk to them about our problems.”
Addy is a volunteer with the Brown Elementary Afterschool Mentoring Program (BEAM), a Swearer Center community partnership that facilitates after-school programing activities and mentorship between Brown volunteers and students at William D’Abate Elementary School in the Olneyville neighborhood.
February 22, 2016
Pia is a junior double-concentrating in Education Studies and Comparative Literature. This is her third year with Writers' Group, a Swearer Center Community Program that offers creative writing workshops for adults with developmental disabilities, and her first year as a Swearer Center Community Fellow.
February 19, 2016I was intrigued by the program, but very intimidated by some of the topics. I’ve never been in the position to talk about gender or sexuality or rape culture.
Tiara came into Brown dead set on studying Neuroscience. After a summer or working with the local Planned Parenthood branch and taking health based classes she realized public health was her real calling. She has been volunteering for the SHAPE (Sexual Health Advocacy through Peer Education) program since sophomore year.
February 16, 2016