Although Bronx Cohort 1 graduated over a month ago (my goodness how time flies) and we’re still reeling from the heady whirlwind of it all, I have yet to introduce the most recent students of Bank Street’s Early Childhood Urban Education Initiative Program – the second Bronx Cohort.
The first Bronx Cohort, of which I was a part of, met the second cohort in early 2017 not too long after they had started the program. While many in the second group seemed refreshingly still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I couldn’t help but note as we prepared to enter our last semesters that we were just a drop jaded as the years creeped into developing cases of detrimental senioritis. Their newness and enthusiasm reminded me of our own when we began, and I found meeting them invigorating. Their discussion around the famous donut table at Bronx Works made me feel nostalgic for the room where it all started and sparked more than a few memories.
Here are some thoughts from current students of the second Bronx Cohort:
Since I started the program at Bank Street, it has made me realize how important is to see little children as we would see adult human beings— to treat them with respect individually and to be able to recognize the interests that they come to school with. I have learned the ways that you have to observe them and help them develop those interests that come from their backgrounds. I have learned how to direct them in growing.
I think this program has been very helpful for me, because I’m very new in the teaching field and coming to Bank Street has taught me how I can be an effective teacher to the students. I have learned so much information— even how to think as a teacher.
I’ve learned a lot of meaningful things through this program. First of all, I’m so happy– so glad to have this opportunity for my personal and professional growth, and then for me, the most important thing that I’ve learned so far, is to keep working on my practice and adding to it. I’ve learned that the best way to do this is by hearing and trying to understand others’ points of view. Students, students’ family members, co-workers, classmates at Bank Street— listening to others helps me grow.
My experience at Bank Street has been eye-opening, challenging and incredibly helpful. I’m learning in this field, how to work as a teacher, how to help children, how to help families, how to help my co-workers and classmates. It’s been eye-opening for everything that I’ve learned and it has been challenging because I’m an English Language Learner and putting my thoughts on paper and discussing my ideas in class have been difficult. But I hope to get better as I feel I am doing in everything else.
I heard a lot of myself in their words. My own experience in the program is well documented. I’ve written about it every way I could and talked about it even more. I’ve loved this program and it has changed my life. I thoroughly believe in the content of what we’ve learned and in Bank Street’s initiative in developing and implementing this valuable program in the Bronx. This program has influenced every aspect of my life and has made me want to be involved in similar work, proliferating ideals I’ve explored at Bank Street, always.
Bronx Cohort II is a welcome addition to the Early Childhood Urban Education Initiative Program, and I hope their experiences are mutually edifying— may both the students, and all aspects of the program, grow.