Invitation to Teach students travel downtown to teach

Usually, the 14 students in the Invitation to Teach class learn teaching skills in middle and elementary schools around the area. However, they were given the opportunity recently to travel to William H. King Elementary School, an inner-city school in Chicago, and experience a different teaching style and setting.

“I was really nervous about the difference in teaching there; teachers there have so much authority. Here, if a teacher tells you to be quiet, students will be quiet; downtown, you have to yell to get the kids to respond,” said Lauren Adrian, a senior taking the Invitation to Teach class.

The students selected to take the Invitation to Teach class get to teach a grade or subject of their choice, as well as observe other teachers for an hour and a half, four days a week. However, that suburban setting changed for the future teachers this week, when they went to William H. King Elementary School.

“The resources that you have are very different at an urban school, and some of the children need more social and emotional support. Also, a lot of students are in between homes; at the school we went to, about 20 percent of the students were considered homeless. So that changes how you go about helping those students succeed,” said Mrs. Dawn Oler, a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher.

The differences of teaching at an urban versus a suburban school taught the students many new things.

“My biggest challenge was getting over the fact that the kids’ reading levels are really far behind. I was helping kids read things like ‘meal’ and ‘meat’ and ‘heat’, and they were in third grade. Around here, kids that age are already reading small books.  It’s true that not everybody gets a good education, and we shouldn’t take it for granted that we do,” Adrian said.