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UES: What alumni have to say

October 19, 2010

I participated in the Urban Education Semester in the Spring of 2009.  Today, as a high school teacher in Boston Public Schools, I have to say that UES has been the single biggest influence on my philosophy and practice of teaching.  The way I learned to think about education, classroom community and personal and collective growth in the classroom have been so deeply influenced by my incredible mentor teacher, our ever-magical adviser Maggie, and my cohort of fellow UES-ers.  I am still in close touch with all of them!  Besides the impact the program had on my teaching, it also changed me as a person so much.  In UES, I learned to respond instead of react, I learned how to really listen, and I learned how to learn from more than just books.  It doesn’t matter whether you think you want to be a teacher or not — if you want to grow and learn and transform, do UES!  It was the most valuable part of my college experience.                                  – Aparna, UES alum, Spring 2009.

My participation in the Urban Education Semester formed my future as an educator as well as my perspective on education policy. During that semester I became deeply engaged in rigorous analysis of educational questions while also experiencing what it meant to educate on a practical level. The one semester gave me more useful tools and experience in my partical area of interest than my entire Masters program in education. I would not be as competent a teacher today if it weren’t for UES.
-Liza, Math Instructor: Academy for Environmental Leadership @Bushwick High School Campus

The Urban Education Semester helped me fall in love with New York, a City I have now called home for almost five years. My outstanding professors, advisors, mentors and peers inspired me to make New York my own and challenged me to think critically about my views on public education. UES also led to my first job out of college–when my UES mentor teacher went on maternity leave, I was the first one asked to step into her role and teach ninth-grade math at a small public school in Brooklyn. Though I did not go on to become a teacher, the experience, both through UES and afterward, was transformative. The UES advisors are still people from whom I seek advice as I explore the professional world–it is a community that lasts far beyond the one-semester experience and can serve as an anchor in the often-overwhelming New York City.
-Viki, Brown University ’06, UES Fall ’06

The Urban Education semester provides hands-on experience in all areas of education – connections with kids, an inside look at unions, how to pull apart policy, how to view child development through play with clay, and whatever else you might wonder about. It is also a unique chance to make change in a classroom and the world around you while immersed in the questioning and critical thinking of the undergraduate years. The close relationships with Urban Ed advisors at Bank Street make it possible to push beyond your current preconceptions and abilities in a truly supportive environment. It is also a unique pairing of child-centered, holistic education with serious thinking about and experience in NYC public schools.
-Lena, UES Fall 2002

UES was an amazing experience. It was the most fulfilling off-campus study program I think I could have chosen. The support from your advisors, getting to know Maggie and Betsy, the people you meet and the students you work with will change your life. I have a bond with many of my students from my placement school, and I plan to visit them as much as I can. I highly recommend this program to anyone interested in education and to anyone who want an enriching experience.
-Tim, Franklin & Marshall

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