Urban Reflexive Eric Tecuanuehue

Prior Experience

Prior to visit Benito Juarez Academy I have never attended or been to an urban setting school in my academic career. From what I’ve hear about urban settings schools is that they do not have a lot of funding which to me is hard to accept because being a Tech. Ed. Major we rely heavily on funding because of the industrial equipment and software that we use in our classes. I picture an urban school not having very great computers or even up to date software since the funding is so low. I’ve also heard that the kids are very out of control and have no respect for teachers. I find this to be very believable since the students are in an urban setting which makes growing up very difficult as opposed to growing up in Naperville. One other thing that I’ve heard is that security is very tight in these schools. There are always school resources officers everywhere and every day students and faculty have to walk through metal detectors for everyone safety. After hearing this from a couple people I’ve never really had an interest into going to an urban setting. I am very tech. savvy and not having proper or up to day equipment is definitely a huge factor for me. On top of not having great equipment I would not want to deal with all the issues those urban cities and schools have to deal with. As a Tech. Ed. Major I can could go anywhere and teach in the state, I don’t think I would want to teach somewhere urban when I can easily go to a suburb and have great funding and half the issues that an urban school would have.

My Observation

I first noticed when we first got off the bus that the school was not in the best part of the city. I saw lot of rundown buildings, but there was a lot of cool and interesting street art as we walked to the school. As I expected they had us go through metal detectors which I understood why we had to, but it wasn’t a big issue for me. Since I am a Tech. Ed major I had the opportunity to see one of the Photoshop classes that were being taught. I will further explain this in another post, but I will say I was very surprised with all the equipment they had. When I was inside the classroom I saw 3 3D printers, a Versa Laser printer, and a huge drafting and cad lab with computers and drafting tables. This was a huge surprise to me because I really did not expect this school to have the same equipment we have at ISU. Since funding is a challenge in an urban school I just assumed that this school would not have these types of things in their class. One thing that really did surprise me about the two Tech teachers I got to see was none of them had a Tech. Ed. Degree! To me this was insane because I could tell while I was in the class that these teachers did not have all the skills necessary to teach these types of classes. It was a little upsetting and heartbreaking, but at least they had the tech classes up in running and the teachers did do a great job at teaching the material. I think that not a lot of tech. teachers ever want to end up in CPS school plus with the huge shortage of tech. ed. Teachers this school was willing to take anyone with some knowledge of their content. I think of the assets of these urban schools is that they get teachers who really care about these students and want them to succeed despite having the issues they have. I could tell that the teacher I observed was very passionate about what she taught and would do anything to help her students inside and outside of schools.

In Class Experience

I was lucky enough to sit in one of the Photoshop classes and I say lucky because i intend to teach digital media which includes Photoshop. When i walked into the classroom I started talking to the teacher and asking her about the class and what the kids do. I explained to her about my past experience with Adobe Software and Photoshop she was very happy that I had these skills and even admitted that I knew much more than she did over these programs. I was lucky enough to walk around the classroom and help students on their projects like a TA for the class. This was very fun because I love working with Photoshop let alone being able to help kids with learning the software. The kids were really respectful towards me which surprised me considering I always pictured urban school classes being completely out of hand with no classroom discipline. As I walked around the class i noticed that one of the kids was missing an ear piece from his glasses. I asked him what happened to his glasses which he explained to me how they broke outside of class and were like that for about a month now. Knowing what I know about 3D printing i showed him a website where he could easily 3D print another ear piece which would not cost him anything, but waiting the time it would take to print his new ear piece. When he saw the website he was amazed with all the cool things he could 3D print. He asked his teacher if he would be able to print his new ear piece sometime next week which she gladly agreed to. I could tell by suggesting how to fix his broken glasses he was very happy and probably made his day. I felt really great that I was able to help this student considering his glasses were broken for so long.

Reflection and Extension

I gained a lot of new insight of urban setting schools and put away to some of the “myths” that go along with them. After being able to sit in and help out in one of the Tech classes it really changed my mind about possibly teaching at one of these schools. Although it would not be one of my first top choices I could see a calling for me in one of the schools. A lot of these students reminded me of myself growing up. A lot of their parents are never really at home because they are busy with work and some parents even work multiple jobs. Some of these students parents also don’t know any or very little English which probably makes schoolwork hard for these kids since they wouldn’t be able to get the help they need outside of class. I remember growing up as a kid struggling a lot with school because of my parents being immigrants and not having the best of jobs or education. I feel that since I grew up experiencing similar issues I would be able to easily relate and engage to these kids. Another helpful skill I have is that I am fluent in Spanish which would help when talking to these kids parents as opposed to a teacher who didn’t know any or very little Spanish. From my experience in Juarez I definitely want to add in my philosophy of teaching that I want to touch base with each and every kid more especially those who had a similar home life like I did. Up until high school I never had a teacher really take an interest in my home life or my academic career like my high school tech teacher/wrestling coach. If it weren’t for him I probably would have never gone to college or even be writing this blog post. I can’t imagine what I’d be doing now if it weren’t for him and that’s the difference I want to make in students’ lives. Being able to show them that even when the odds are against you anything is possible in education you just have to be willing to put more time and effort into your school work.


Created with images by David Hilowitz - "Street Art in Pilsen"

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