Name: Destiny Lamar
Class Year: 2020
Major: English/ Child & Family Studies Minor
Hometown: Bronx, N.Y.
Internship Placement: Puentes De Salud
Job Title: Teacher/Leader
Location: Southwark School
At Puentes we focused on what it means to be a superhero. Each week had a different theme:
- Social justice superheroes
- Art superheroes
- Animal superheroes
- Migrant Superheroes
- STEM superheroes
- Kid superheroes
In order for the children to interpret superheroes separately from the ones they see on TV; we asked them to list the traits that make up a superhero, list ways to make a change, and list the reasons we migrate so that they can apply their own perspective to each story we read and be able to view the “heroes without capes” including themselves. After getting to know all of our children, my group members and I were able to adjust some of the activities in the curriculum to their standards. We realized that we have a lot of visual learners and, therefore, had find an activity that went hand in hand with the story but also gives them freedom for creative expression. Literacy was a challenge for the group as a whole and most of the students individually so a lot of the work we came up with was being comfortable speaking in both English and Spanish.
I applied to this internship after learning that Puentes de Salud is an education and wellness program for children of South Philadelphia’s Latino community that are experiencing academic, cultural, and social challenges in the public school system. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and practice speaking Spanish while also being exposed to the significance of balancing health and education for children and myself. I wanted to be apart of a greater outcome and assist the children with being comfortable in their own skin inside and outside of the classroom.
The most important skills that I’ve learned are problem solving and being attentive. Being that my group members and I were the first to teach first graders, there was a lot of trial and error. It was difficult to come up with a curriculum for each day due to our different teaching styles and the different learning syles of the students. I learned how to be on my toes and always be prepared for any outcome. This was my first experience working with children who have difficulties expressing themselves and who have a lot of things going on at home that affect them daily. I had to pay close attention to body language, tone, behaviors, etc., which was harder than I thought it’d be. I learned a lot about myself through the process as well as getting a better understanding on the students’ perspective and where their frustrations come from with being bilingual and in a school with minimum resources.
The biggest challenge that I’ve faced in my internship is speaking up for myself. In the beginning I found that I was being very passive despite my previous experiences with children and doubting myself and my capabilities. However, I knew that I had something to contribute to this experience so I eventually shook off my self doubts and spoke up to use my experiences to help others. It was an empowering experience and I look forward to taking this mentality back to campus to continue empowering myself.