Students spend Fall Break in Chicago Public Schools

Students at Leland Elem

Nearly 20 students from EDCI 205 (Exploring Teaching as a Career) spent Fall Break (October 10-12) in Chicago, where they learned about education in urban environments.

Purdue alumni Christina O’Leary (BS ’11) and Chris Vienna (BS ’13), as well as Katie Sullivan, who is currently completing her student teaching experience in Chicago, spoke to the group about their experiences teaching in Chicago Public Schools. They discussed the challenges with food and shelter that many of their students face on a regular basis, as well as the rewards of working in Chicago Public Schools, like how they help students and their families work through crisis situations.

They also visited the Barreto Boys and Girls Club, as well as Leland Elementary School and Clark High School, two schools where more than 90 percent of families are considered low-income. Purdue students were able to observe and assist in classrooms, help teachers with grading, and tutor and work with small groups of students. They also shared the experiences they’ve had at college with a group of seven students from Clark High School who are considering attending Purdue.

“This was an excellent experience for our students – it strengthened their passion for the teaching profession and provided them with an authentic experience in the third largest school corporation in the United States,” said Ed Wiercioch, coordinator of early field experiences in the Office of Field Experiences, who coordinated the trip with Erin Vaughn, EDCI 205 instructor.

“It was great to observe the different ways that teachers interact with their students,” said elementary and special education major Tessa Trueblood. “The teachers are truly connected to their students — it was easy to see that they really care about them. This experience helped me see the different ways teachers can make a difference in kids’ lives. I especially loved talking with the students who wanted to attend Purdue in the future – we helped them see the different ways that college might be available to them.”