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UES: an (a)typical day

October 19, 2010

6:30 a.m. Wake up in your dorm room at the 92nd Street Y to the sound of traffic on Lexington Avenue. Try to eat some cereal while packing up everything you need: your reading for class, your sandwich, the handouts you put together for the math lesson you’re teaching today.

7:15 a.m. Speedwalk the four blocks to the 86th St. subway stop. Grab some coffee at Julian’s on the way, if you’ve got a minute. Maye you’ll take the crosstown bus to the A train, or the 4-train to the Queens-bound 7. Either way, do the reading for your Child Development class on the train.

8:00 a.m. Arrive at school. Say good morning to the security guard, then check in with your cooperating teacher to help set up for the day: make copies, print permission slips, put the daily agenda up on the blackboard.

11:00 a.m. Today’s the first lesson of the unit you’re teaching for your final project: teaching geometry through origami. After talking to your advisors, Maggie and Betsy, about how to introduce it, 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, while others struggle, get distracted, or give up. It’s okay, you’re cooperating teacher assures you. You’ll come back to it tomorrow.

3:15 p.m. Get back on the subway and head towards Bank Street. Stop by Westside Market to snack on the free cheese samples. You have fifteen minutes before your 4:45-6:45 “Art for Teachers” class – finish up your reading in the Bank Street lobby, watching the harried grad students navigate their way through crowds of School for Children students and their Upper West Side parents.

5:00 p.m. In 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, so ask: “How did you decide to draw the blue stripe?”

7:30 p.m. Back at the Y, make dinner with your fellow UES students on the floor kitchen. You’ve mastered the art of making fried rice, so you can linger in the kitchen to talk about your days. Your math lesson wasn’t so smooth, but your roommate’s poetry lesson was even rougher. She suggests: next time pair them up and have them help each other. You tell her she’s brilliant.

8:30 p.m. Prepare for the next day; look over lesson plans, think about which students you need to follow up with, write a reflection on the day to send to Maggie and Betsy. Waste some time online, gchatting with your friend down the hall because you’re too tired to walk over to her room. Try to get 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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