Claremont International High School, South Bronx, NY
I'm currently employed with the New York City Department of Education. I'm the visual art teacher at Claremont International High School in the South Bronx. My population of students consists of 9th and 10th grade English Language Learners. These high school students have recently arrived and/or have a few years in the United States having been in bilingual classes at their middle schools.
The impact of attending an all-women’s college was the high standards of achievement set forth by the professors and the alumni. I liked the uniqueness of Moore and telling people I attended a women's college. I would get weird looks or many questions about the experience and regardless, I wouldn't have it any other way. There was a huge sense of empowerment and it made it easier for me to stand out and achieve above and beyond my limitations. Where in my prior colleges, I felt isolated and pushed down for trying to achieve more than my best.
My student teaching experience in Kensington prepared me extremely well for my present job working in a similar urban community. I was under the wing of amazing Moore alum, Kimberly Gavin. I learned so much from her that I even see some of Kim come out when I'm standing in front of my own class today. It was definitely an experience doing my student teaching during a rough and dangerous time for that community that I was asked by my dear professor Deb Deery if I wanted to transfer to a different school. However, I refused. I was committed to finishing with those kids because a connection was established and I wasn't ready to leave. Working under Kim's guidance, I developed my 'tough love' personality and found my teacher voice. If I didn't learn to overcome the obstacles I faced in Kensington, I would definitely not be where I am today. My kids are tough to handle at times and I feel overwhelmed, but they know that I'm there for them and at the end of the day, who else would be doing a better job than me? Their antics, smiles, and amazing talent give me strength.
Being a first year teacher with a rough group of 30 students at a time is hard. I'm basically teaching English through Visual Art. This has become my new artistic challenge: being a successful English teacher to help teach them reading and writing skills and meet their needs as students and learners of the English Language. All students are at different levels, some have learning disabilities, and some have social emotional issues. The Internationals school model is all about heterogeneity
As a transfer student, I arrived my 3rd year. The best memories I have are from the late night studio sessions with my girls during junior and senior year. After midnight painting and drawing in our studios, sculpting in the clay studio, and our walks to Wawa at 3am just to go back to our studio and continue working.
My advice to the new Moore ladies who will also have a chance to leave a legacy: take advantage of EVERY opportunity that is presented (like internships, scholarships for travel, and jobs at Moore), smile and don't be shy- your artwork can only get you so far because people will remember how you spoke about your work and your passion more than what your work actually looks like.