From the Perspective of Chicago Semester Student Teachers

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Final Blog

Erin Walters - Irving Park Chicago International Charter School
Hello friends and fellow CSer’s!

I am so sad to say that this semester is now coming to a close, and this will be my last post. Time has flown by so quickly, and I have loved getting to write and share my experiences with you through this blog!

One thing about me that I haven’t gotten to share too much about this semester is that I love to be outside. It’s hard to do this when it’s cold and snowy out, but now that the weather is changing I am able to find great places outdoors to spend my time. 

One of the places I loved to be over break was the beach. Coming from Holland, going to the beach is second nature to me, so getting to do this in Chicago was the best thing I could have asked for. The water was still way too cold for swimming, but I still managed to get sunburned, read a book in the sand, and play some Frisbee with friends. I really can’t complain!
This past week was spring break for the majority of the student teachers, including me, which meant I spent lots of quality time doing nothing but relaxing and adventuring. It was so great to have some time to do some of the things I had wanted to do, and luckily the weather was great for the majority of the time so the week went really well!

I also finally got to explore Lincoln Park more. I found that it’s actually walking distance from Canterbury and has lots of amazing places to go during the day. There is, of course, the zoo (which is free!), but there is also a beautiful conservatory with colorful flowers and amazing landscaping designs (this is also free!), and a ton of green space with baseball fields, soccer fields, and basketball courts as well as just some good ol’ trees and grass to chill on (and it’s free!). I had been waiting for a good time to find a place for hammocking, and Lincoln Park South Fields did not disappoint on a beautiful sunny Saturday.

Yesterday (April 25th) was my birthday, but since I knew I would be back in school and also have class then, I celebrated on Sunday by grabbing dinner with some of the amazing people I have met in the program. We went to a burger place called The Butcher and the Burger, off of Armitage. It’s a build-your-own-burger place that is similar to Five Guys, except that you literally pick everything from the meat and seasonings you want to the toppings and the kind of bun to put it all between. Everyone had something different, and all the burgers looked amazing. For dessert we went to Sweet Mandy B’s, which is near Fullerton area, and has literally every sweet possible. It made for a great celebration in the city!

Now, I am in my final week at CICS Irving Park. My students are already talking about how sad they are to see me go, and I’m already preparing for a rough last day, as I have to say goodbye to my 29 favorite third graders, as well as my amazing Cooperative Teacher Ms. Nolan. I have learned so much in this placement and enjoyed each experience I got to have here. Coming to Chicago to student teach was one of the best decisions I have made, as I know I would not have grown as I have in any other place than here. I’ve decided not to stay in Chicago to teach, but I know that I will take what I have done here and apply it to wherever I do end up teaching.

Overall, it was a great last weekend and week spent with some great people in some amazing places. Chicago has been absolutely fabulous this semester, and I am so sad to be leaving in less than a week. I am thankful for all of the experiences I have had here and the people I have met, and will forever be glad that I got to call this city home for a few short months. While I am excited to return to Holland and see my friends and family, I will never forget this experience and know that the friends I have made here will always have value to me, even as we go separate ways.

Thanks to all of you who have followed this semester, and have a blessed life!


Monday, March 28, 2016

Rainy Sunday

Erin Walters - Irving Park Chicago International Charter School

Happy rainy Sunday, CSers!

We had a short week in school for Easter this past week, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t busy! Time is going so quickly here, and each week seems to get faster as it gets busier.

To start my week, I went to watch the sunrise over Lake Michigan on Sunday. One thing I have found with waking up early during the week is that it becomes hard to sleep late on the weekends as well. This might sound bad, but it’s actually nice if you can manage to be productive, or if you take advantage of things like sunrises!

On Monday, Molly and I decided to treat ourselves after coaching Girls on the Run after school. We went to a place in Belmont, which is a stop on the red line, called Cheesie’s. The main thing that they serve is grilled cheese, but there are so many different options of it that I think you could eat there every week and never get bored with grilled cheese. That would be a lot of grilled cheese, though. Molly and I both got The Mac, which is stuffed with mac and cheese. It was delicious, and definitely made my Monday much better.

In school, my students are starting to prepare for the PARCC test, which is a countrywide standardized test that starts once students are in 3rd grade. I am already nervous for my students as this begins, as they haven’t done a test like this before, and I can see that sitting and doing a paper test for an hour or more is not going to go well. We did a practice test on Thursday and most of my students lost concentration after fifteen minutes. If you’re the praying type, my students could definitely use it! On top of this, we are learning about fractions which can be challenging.

Then on Thursday I got to go home for the long weekend. My sister bought me a train ticket to surprise my family, and then I got to be home for almost three days. It was good to get out of the city for a while and see them again, as well as to spend Easter together. It was a necessary break to help me reenergize to work through these next few weeks.

I hope the holiday was great for you too!

Until next time,