Student Reflections

Depth of Relationships

Deirdre: "I had forged friendships and trust with my new neighbors. These relationships were formed easily while teaching. Seeing my students both in and after school allowed me to build close ties, while also allowing for an enhanced understanding of their daily struggles and challenges. I was the only teacher who did not scold Josh for sleeping through class, because I knew that his neighbors played music all night long. Without having to ask, I knew Rashon was absent because his mother was too proud to send him in dirty clothes."

Rachel: "Parents and students would see me walking around Over-the-Rhine, the same streets they walk, and call out to me, hug me, and talk to me about their child’s education and home life. This experience allowed me to connect to students and families in a way that many teachers never have the opportunity to do. Not only did this build relationships with my students and their parents, but it also helped me to improve my instruction in the classroom because I was more aware of students’ needs and they were more open to sharing and working with me."

Consciousness Awareness

Katie: "Before my experience in Over-the-Rhine, I may have been someone who served in a community for a week or a weekend, maybe even a few hours, giving my time to serve food at a shelter or clean up the neighborhood. But at the end of those trips, I would leave. I would abandon that world of unfamiliarity, uncomfortable feelings, and difference to return to my safe and comfortable lifestyle. Today, I see what was so wrong with that life I once lived...

Today, I see that for me, it is not enough to just give pieces of my life to a community for a short time, but that I want to invest my whole life into loving and serving in a community that is often neglected and forgotten.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that life isn’t about just giving because you are fortunate to have. But that life is about living in solidarity with one another, to learn from one another."

Personal Transformation

Rachel: "Living, studying, and working in Over-the-Rhine allowed me to develop a political understanding and passion for equality. I studied and became involved in the trials of the homeless and their fight for affordable housing and an adequate minimum wage.

I learned not to “sweat the small stuff” and now value relationships, self-reflection, activism.

This would not have been possible without the real-life experiences gained each day living in this urban environment. I was given the opportunity to learn, not only from the literature required in our courses, but from the people who are actually living the life and struggles that we were studying."

Taylor: "The urban teacher cohort provided me with the support structure that helped me maintain the energy, dedication, and big ideas that it takes to be an exemplary educator in an urban school."

Tierionna: "This program dispels and confronts the myth of what it is to teach in an urban setting. It’s one thing to learn from a textbooks, its another to learn from the people you’ll be teaching."