Though her teaching interests are mainly in the middle school age range, Asaada Craig ’22 enjoyed getting the opportunity to spend time in a high school classroom over winter break, as a Boston Urban Teaching Fellow at Excel High School in South Boston.
“The classroom environment looks a lot different in a high school [versus grades 6–8], and student expectations also change,” said Craig, a double major in elementary education and women’s and gender studies. ‘I spent a few days of the two-week program choosing to follow certain students throughout their day to talk with them more about their own aspirations and goals and how they feel about Excel High. Those conversations and built bonds re-instilled my drive to want more out of public schools.”
Sponsored by the Consortium for Excellence in Teacher Education, of which Wheaton is a member, the Boston Urban Teaching Fellows program partners with staff from the Boston Plan for Excellence to place liberal arts students with mentors in Boston public schools. Craig found the fellowship through Associate Professor of Education Scott Gelber, who co-coordinates the program, and was one of 22 fellows selected for the January 2020 program. Others included Wheaton students Lena Welch ’22 and Hannah Melville ’22.
She also received support for her winternship through a Porter Cleveland Fellowship.
At Excel, Craig was placed with a 10th grade biology teacher. Her responsibilities included making comments on lab reports and helping students to organize and plan experiments for the school’s upcoming science fair.
“Being able to observe my host and other teachers, and get their perspectives on what it’s like to be an educator in a Boston public school, was valuable for me,” she said. “I gained knowledge on the challenges teachers are facing and the concerns students have about their education.”
Craig said the experience inspired her to push for changes in the public education system that will better support student and teacher success.
“This internship encouraged me to continue to go into spaces that can inform my path and yield opportunities to learn from others that dwell within those spaces,” she said.