It is not uncommon for me to get puzzled looks from freshmen, family members, and friends when I say I go to Drexel University to major in Secondary Education. I chose Drexel because of the School of Education’s small size, in order to gain insight on how urban education affects students learning, and of course be in the city of Philadelphia.
In my spring quarter of my freshman year, I not only became very involved with Drexel’s School of Education events, but became very involved in one of my education classes. One of the most fascinating classes I took was EDUC 123: Adolescent Development. This course was the first course that involved classroom observations in conjunction with class meeting times. The theme of the course was to gain insight on how adolescent children grow and develop in and out of school. I was very excited that I was able to be in a classroom in my freshman year and get to know a School District of Philadelphia school.
I was placed at West Philadelphia High School, and paired up with a social studies teacher who taught seniors. The end result of EDUC 123: Adolescent Development was to create our own case study based on field notes. Instead of observing the whole class as my classmates chose to do, I decided to focus on a particular student. Choosing to focus on one student really helped me gain insight into the student’s life beyond school and what some of the hardships of growing up in urban education can be. I was impressed how open the student was in sharing how he transitioned from adolescent life to adulthood, and college life. One of the things I took from this class and performing my observation was how not everything in education can be taught straight out of the textbook. Additionally, when interviewing my student, I would challenge theories we learned in lecture and then see if it applied to my student.
The last thing I learned was how important it was to build relationships with the school administrators and the teacher I was working with. I decided to go more than the required twenty hours and gain more insight into the daily functions of West Philadelphia High School, and the School District of Philadelphia. Based on EDUC 123: Adolescent Development, I learned how the mind of an adolescent works, and how being in a city affects the growth of students. By far, this class was the most fascinating, and I cannot wait for what sophomore year has in store for me!