Becoming Ms. Matthew
When I started the MAT program, I had no intention of ever teaching middle school. I was actually originally placed at South High Community School, to teach Juniors and Seniors. When my original mentor teacher became an instruction coach at South, I needed to find a new placement. One of the options was with Meghan Rosa, teaching 7th and 8th grade students at University Park Campus School. During one of my summer classes, I spent time at the UPCS Summer Academy, getting to know the new 7th grade students as they began to find their way around their new school. I observed and assisted with classes for two weeks, and by the end of it, my opinion of middle school had totally changed.
Now that I am here, I know that middle school is the place for me. I have the incredible opportunity to help my students grow and prepare them for the transition to young adulthood. I get to teach them as much about themselves and how to interact with others as I get to teach them the nuances of the English language. I am always finding new ways to teach them both the content and the skills that my students will need to succeed.
As a white, middle class, Jewish woman who attended suburban schools, I know that my background and experiences were different from the experiences that my students have. Having focused on Sociology as well as English in my undergraduate studies, I am always conscious of how I can relate to my students and how my students can relate to me. My goal is to always make sure that I am reaching them in a way to effectively build their understanding without perpetuating the structural inequalities that exist in public education. At the end of the day, I know that I can learn as much from them as they can learn from me.
Together we are learning and growing. Throughout this process, I have become more
confident in myself, have learned how
to better communicate with students and with other adults, and have begun to feel at home
in the classroom. Along with my incredible mentors, my students have helped me along the way, and I hope that I am able to help them in return.