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subways, classrooms, city streets: an (a)typical day in the urban education semester.

October 23, 2009


six-thirty a.m.
Wake up in your dorm room at the 92nd Street Y to the sound of cars and buses rushing down Lexington Ave. Eat some cereal. Pack up everything you’ll need between now and 7PM: your reading for class, your sandwich, the handouts you’ve made for your math lesson today.

seven-fifteen a.m.

Speedwalk the four blocks to the subway stop. Get coffee at Julian’s on the way if you’ve got an extra minute. Maybe you’ll take the crosstown bus to the B to the A, or the 4 and then the 7 all the way to Queens. Do your Bank Street reading on the subway.

eight a.m.
Arrive at school. Say hello to the security guard, then good morning to your cooperating teacher. Help set up for the day: make copies, print permission slips, write up the daily schedule.

eleven a.m.
Today’s the first lesson of your project–teaching geometry through origami. You’ve been talking with Betsy and Maggie, your advisors, about how to introduce it, and you’ve decided to start off by teaching the students how to fold a square piece of paper into a box. Some get it right away, some struggle, get distracted, or give up. It’s okay, your cooperating teacher assures you. We’ll come back to it tomorrow.

three-fifteen p.m.
Get back on the subway and head towards Bank Street. Stop at Westside Market and eat some free cheese samples as a snack. You have Art for Teachers today from 4:45 to 6:15. Finish up your reading in the Bank Street lobby, watching the harried grad students mix with the School for Children students and their Upper West Side parents.

five p.m.
Today in your art class, you talk about how to comment on children’s art. Never say that you like it. It’s not about your perspective , it’s about the child’s experience. Instead, ask: How did you decide to draw the blue stripe?

seven p.m.
Back at the Y, make dinner with the other UES students who live on your floor. You’ve gotten particularly good at cooking fried rice. Linger in the kitchen and talk about your days. Your math lesson didn’t go so smoothly, but your roommate’s poetry lesson was even tougher. She suggests: Next time pair them up and have them help each other. You tell her she’s brilliant.

eight-thirty p.m.
Prepare for tomorrow. Talk on the phone. Waste some time on the internet, and take a minute to write a reflection on the day. Try to go to bed at a decent hour. Tomorrow, you won’t be capable of everything, and you won’t be one hundred percent prepared. What you will be, though, is present.

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