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MAST

PCSJS Portfolio's picture

Being a teacher with MAST, a program at Haverford where college students are paired with Philadelphia high school students to tutor them in writing and science, was an equally exciting and frustrating experience.  I fluctuated between feeling like I had a wonderful rapport with the students I tutored and wondering if they were listening to anything I was saying.  The experience was also an important avenue for me to recognize the immense amount of privilege I’ve held, and what it meant to grow up around books, going to well-funded schools, with highly educated parents.  Of course, this realization is a process that has gone through many waves, and is something I continue to grapple with.  My MAST students also forced me to rethink how I understand intelligence, skill, and literacy.  Although many of the students I worked with were not able to read and write in the ways defined by standardized tests, they had much more insight than I did about certain issues, were incredibly bright, and clearly possessed many skills not as valued by our educational system.  I felt a huge amount of tension between wanting to improve schools for all children and giving them the tools they’d need to read, while at the same time wanting to rebel against the current educational model and teach my students to proud of their intelligence and strengths, wherever they lie.  I’ve never truly reconciled these two desires, and it wasn’t until taking an Education course this semester that I began to be able to integrate theory into what MAST made me feel and think.

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