I have recently starting working for a non-profit agency as a teacher/facilitator. I work at two separate sites; one located in Lincoln Park and the other in Dearborn. It has been a great experience so far, as I am not bogged down by the weight of administrative bureaucracy. The beauty of this experience is that I can focus on the students, as opposed to end of semester test scoring.

Clearly, we are attentive to these scores, and use them in order to assess where our students are, in order to meet them. However, our philosophy allows us to put students front and center. I have always been an advocate of student-centered learning, and for the first time in my teaching career, I found an organization that does exactly this.

I am still learning students names, and it does get somewhat complicated as our students sign up for our program at will. So, some students come often, and some do not, which makes it a bit difficult to remember names. Still, it has only been a few weeks, so eventually I will iron this out. The gist of our program is holistic. Our approach encompasses the idea that students learn best when they are exposed to a variety of learning styles. We apply a “reading, speaking, listening, and tactile response for kinesthetic learners” and this approach helps us meet students where they are, academically and facilitate their development.

Students are also fortunate in that we provide a small snack, and dinner. Once they sign in, they receive their snack, and they chat with their peers, and with us about their day. First order of events is that we check to make sure students get assistance with their current assignments. If they need help with anything, this is what we take care of initially. Then, we may begin an activity or learning objective that has been developed by myself or my site Supervisor. We pay close attention to the current scholarship being studied in their classrooms, and work to further those skills by creating lesson plans with this foundation in mind. Once we complete these activities, we then incorporate physical activity, craft projects, and/or learning strategies. This is the precise concept that title this post. I really appreciate having this creative freedom as an instructor, because it puts the student front and center. After all, they are the reason I do this!