In order for students to have a well-rounded education, they must have access to opportunities outside of their typical experiences. Students must be exposed to new places, people, and ideas. This can often only be done by experiencing something truly novel or new.
I provided the following access opportunities to my students and families over this past year:
Learning happens through experience. Even when students learn “strictly academic” material, they remember this material through the associations with experiences. Many of my students lack access to experiences outside of their community, and many of their parents lack access to knowledge to assist their child with their coursework. The field trip to Kingman Island on the Anacostia river increased students’ access to the outdoors and the rich local history of DC. Even though Kingman Island is located physically close to my students, it is not an opportunity they would normally think to seek out. Through the parent math literacy night, families increased their access to being able to assist their children in their educational journeys. Parents are often not properly informed of curriculum changes or how to assist their child, and a parent math literacy night helps bridge this gap. Through the virtual field trip to Madden HQ, students were exposed to new career options and applications of mathematics.
These opportunities exposed students to real-world problems, engaged their parents in new ways, and introduced them to new potential career paths. Students and families were overall engaged in these experiences. Moving forward as an educator, I want to expand what types of opportunities I am exposing students to. I did not get a chance to expose students to college options or as many career options as I would have liked. As I develop as an educator, I am committed to improving the variety of opportunities I expose students to.