Every afternoon, I walk six blocks south to my part time job at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where I work in the after school program. A while later, I’ll walk back, sometimes as worn out as I am today, when it was seventy degrees and sunny and I played soccer with fifth and sixth graders for hours.
I first worked at “Lab” three years ago, when I was last on campus and it seemed like half of the student body at LSTC was employed there. Today Lab After School is staffed by mostly education majors, recently graduated and looking to deepen their teaching skills with an internship at one of the most respected private schools in the city. I’ve been grandfathered in, which is great, because I get to learn from them, observe their best practices, take part in their discussions on pedagogy, hear from their guest speakers. It’s like having an elementary education practicum as part of my seminary coursework.
Today, for example, I listened to a presentation about techniques for writing workshops in the lower grades. I walked a dozen second-graders from their classroom down to the line of cars waiting to pick them up, and on the way I learned about one girl’s progress toward adopting a cat and debated a seven-year-old over the merits of Mexico’s national futbol team. I helped a fifth-grader with multiplication.
And then I played soccer for three hours, my daily recess. All in a day’s work…