Professor of Education Michelle Pittard - Known as a “city of neighborhoods,” Chicago plays host to 10 education students this week who are taking part in the Chicago Urban Education & Cultural Experience. After an early morning train departure from Crawfordsville, six Education students (Nick Durm, D.J. Singfield, Cody Stipes, Mitch Rivers, Andy Todd, and Jake Turner) arrived in Chicago just before noon today.
The other four students participating in the Chicago Experience (Chris Beedie, Kam Blake, Josh Miracle, and Tommy Mambourg) traveled to the city from their homes and met the group downtown for a quick orientation with faculty before heading out to the Maxwell Street Market – a Sunday tradition in Chicago and the group’s first urban cultural event of the week.
The market, where we could buy everything from steak tacos and churros to light bulbs and antiques, offered a glimpse of the ethnic and cultural diversity the city has to offer. After experiencing the market, and equipped with a Chicago Transit Authority pass (good on all public transportation in the city) and a good city map, students were given time to make a practice run from the hostel (their home for the week located inside the loop) to their host schools that include five Chicago Public Schools and one private school. Part of experiencing the culture of the city is using public transportation and since Wabash students are expected to be in their host schools by 7:30 every morning this week, the practice runs allowed students to gain confidence navigating the city by themselves, even if this meant getting a little lost.
One of the highlights of our first day in Chicago was meeting alums, Bill Andrews and Art Howe, for dinner at the Asian restaurant, Tamarind. Students enjoyed talking with Mr. Andrews and Mr. Howe over dinner and learning more about life in Chicago from two true “insiders.”
Monday will find students in their host schools getting acclimated to urban schooling done right by some of the most successful teachers in the city. After a long day in the schools, I’m sure everyone will be looking forward to tomorrow’s evening meal at a popular Polish buffet on Milwaukee Avenue. While Monday will largely be an observation day for most of the guys, some will begin teaching classes in their host schools as early as Tuesday morning.
Then, in our effort to experience a variety of cultures and visit as many of the Chicago neighborhoods as possible, we will have lunch on Tuesday and a guided tour in Pilsen, a Mexican neighborhood where one of the host schools (Benito Juarez H.S) is located.
Wednesday is another full day of working in the schools, but the group will be rewarded with dinner in China Town! More teaching is expected on Thursday and Friday and if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to squeeze in a Cubs or White Sox game one evening!
In photo: The group getting Monday morning instructions.