“Culture is an important window into a child, an essential part of any bridge’s blueprint, and an effective teacher must learn to be lifelong students of culture” –Nieto
My focus as an urban educator is culturally responsive teaching and its relationship to student’s overall learning. In Nieto’s To Teach, he states; “culture embodies a people’s beliefs, values, [and] way of looking at the world” (Nieto 78). As a future educator I think it’s imperative that we include our student’s different cultures in our own classroom. Culture is so much more than race it is a way of life. My three years of teaching showed me that our kids need someone who understands and identifies with their culture. They need teachers who understand their home-life. They need teachers who understand the challenges they will face coming from the environment in which they were raised.
As and undergraduate student I was blessed with the opportunity to become a scholar of the Institute for Urban Education as Elementary Education major. Not only did I adopt a network of support by getting accepted into the program but, a huge financial burden was lifted from me as well. Without that program, I probably would not have been able to graduate from college. I come from a family of seven. Of the seven; three of us are currently are in college. We’ve managed however, it’s been extremely hard. I usually borrowed my books from the library and friends and take the Metro bus to and from class as an undergraduate. I still managed to graduate from college with a 3.1 cumulative gpa ,however, it was extremely hard given I didn't have some of the same resources as my peers. The metro system in Kansas City is not as advanced as larger towns and sometimes I would have to get up 2 or 3 hours before my peers just ensure I could get to class. As a professional, it has been extremely hard saving up for graduate school on a teacher salary. Some of the money saved went to resources in the classroom. In fact, my salary as a teacher of $38,000 a year is significantly less than the suggested overall annual $60,000 cost of Howard University.
I let fear of not being able to pay for school keep me from attending my dream college as undergraduate student. As graduate, im much more confident now. I really believe that Howard University can provide me with the education and experiences to take my skill set to the next level. I have taught for three years in the Kansas City Area and I have thoroughly enjoyed it! Being able to go back to school as a Educational Leadership and Policy major will deepen my understanding of teaching and also prepare me to become a leader in education and making a greater impact on our youth.