The East Harlem School at Exodus House, New York, NY
This summer I had the opportunity to work as a summer teaching intern at the East Harlem School at Exodus House. East Harlem School (EHS) is a private middle school (grades 4-8) that mainly works with low-income families with “the highest values.” My role as a summer teaching intern involved teaching a humanities and elective class for EHS’s summer session. The summer semester is essentially a month-long program during which students take a humanities, math, and elective course as well as a sports or gym period.
I taught two eighth grade humanities classes. Over the summer we read and discussed, “The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child” by Francisco Jiménez. We made comics depicting scenes from the book, wrote inspired poems, practiced writing paragraphs and even had small discussions about overall themes and trends. Class also involved grammar and vocabulary lessons. We tested our mastery over concepts every Thursday with a game of Jeopardy. After a morning of teaching, we’d head over to Randall’s Island to play games of soccer and work on overall fitness. Later in the day, I would teach a multi-grade level elective. My elective was titled “Storytelling,” and the goal was for students to write or draw their own original stories. However, before we got to creating our own stories, we’d draw or write inspired by music or artwork or history. One of my favorite projects was when I asked students to recreate or reimagine their own fairytales.
This internship put a great deal of trust into the interns. I was in charge of creating my own lesson plans, my own homework packets and even giving grades at the end of term. Yes, I had an orientation period where I learned about school expectations and was given tips on running a classroom, but ultimately when the time came I had to figure out what engaged students and what didn’t. Teaching two classes back to back allowed me to reflect and improve every day. It was a truly amazing experience to be trusted with so much responsibility and rise to the standards I set for myself.
I loved getting to make connections with students and my fellow interns. The internship is set up in a way that allows for community building. I often went to the other eighth grade humanities teacher to brainstorm ideas and just talk about our classes. I definitely made some great friendships.
I am very thankful for this internship. I gained a newfound sense of confidence. I usually have been someone who often has been labeled as shy, but I found myself becoming more assured of my own voice. In the future, teaching might be one of the many paths I take after graduation.
To the EHS community, thank you for this opportunity and allowing me to learn so much from all of you about myself and the field of education. I am immensely grateful to Mr. Gelobter and Ms. Picard, as well as the ’68 Center for this opportunity.