Darren Studnicki, English/Secondary English Education
As a prospective future educator, my internship with ACH Clear Pathways this semester has provided me the opportunity to meaningfully interact with students and see how they react to certain circumstances that they are placed in. One of the challenges that accompanies any after school program such as ACH is the possibility that the students are wiped out mentally after a long school day. This can lead to negative behaviors, such as the students not focusing during the program time and acting out with their friends. Recently, the desk set up in the boys’ room was rearranged in order to promote a more positive learning environment for every student in the room. Instead of the desks being arranged by rows, they were combined so each student could sit next to one another, which facilitates a more collaborative space for the students to learn and complete their work. As a result of this change, there has been a noticeable improvement in participation during the homework portion of the day. This positive change has taught me a lot about the importance of creating a classroom environment that is stimulating for each student in the room when I enter the teaching profession. Though I believe that structure is necessary for education, as this change has taught me, is also necessary to remember that students are human and do not always respond well to strict systems. As I have learned from this change, sometimes it is necessary to strip down the rigid surroundings that students are placed in to promote a more beneficial learning environment for all.
Here is a picture of me and two of the students at ACH in the new room set up, courtesy of the ACH Clear Pathways Facebook page: