Teaching isn’t always about standing in front of the classroom. Learning isn’t always about sitting in your seat. Sixty-three future teachers found that education is often about getting down to the children’s level and working shoulder-to-shoulder to help them overcome an obstacle, see things in a new way or grasp a concept they didn’t understand a moment ago.
Bloomsburg University undergraduate and graduate students spent two weeks in May in kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms across the Bethlehem and Easton Area school districts as part of the 2012 Urban Practicum. During the practicum, organized by Frank D’Angelo, assistant professor of early childhood and adolescent education, BU students worked with students in one of five Lehigh Valley schools: Fountain Hill (pictured here), Marvine, Paxinosa and Lincoln elementary schools and Broughal Middle School.
Working beside experienced teachers, BU students taught lessons and gained a better understanding of the situations urban schools and students face daily. And when the school day ended for the children, BU students learned from education professionals from throughout the Lehigh Valley, including the superintendents and assistant superintendents of Easton Area and Bethlehem school districts, elementary principals and cultural leaders.
The future teachers also engaged with the community, experiencing Latino culture at a Catholic Mass conducted in Spanish, a Puerto Rican dinner and a community yard sale that raised $850 for the schools and Latino Center.
The Urban Practicum is a specialized field experience for BU students who want to experience education in inner-city schools. •
Story and Photos by Eric Foster