Last week was our first official day of SFD! The pilot is taking place at WATCH High School in East New York, Brooklyn, which is where I taught for two years through Teach For America. I left the school about two years ago unsure about how to bring about change and new opportunities to my students and students like them, but I knew I had to step away in order to figure it all out. Last week, I returned to the same school with a sense of sureness and free will – I was back voluntarily, on my own terms, and working with students in a way that I think is most effective.
It was awesome meeting the girls who applied for the program. As expected, I received comments like, “Wait, you’re an adult??”, but they soon realized that I was NOT another high school student. On the first day, I first explained the program in greater detail – what’s exciting is that there is a palpable curiosity to learn more and experience what’s ahead. We did a “Four Square” activity to gauge their understanding of what STEM is and to give a sneak peek what STEM encompasses as well as the journey they will embark on this semester. We also spent a good deal of time getting acquainted through a variety of quite amusing ice breakers.
There are still some logistical matters to be worked out, but it’s nothing we can’t handle! Returning to the school has definitely refreshed my memory of the challenges that come with operating within NYC’s Department of Education. It only fuels my passion to deliver a program with the utmost quality that students and parents deserve. One of my favorite comments from the first day was when a student realized that she was actually accepted into the program – “I made it in? Wow, I’ve never made it into something before!” What’s so exciting about her exhilaration is thinking that not only did she get into “something”, but a thing that can set her on a new, promising, and uplifting trajectory. I’m stoked for what’s ahead!