During the Spring 2019 semester, I taught my undergraduate Community Literacies course at GT elementary school. For this course, I collaborated with Ms. Ana Whited, the Parent Support Specialist, to plan the practicum for my students. This practicum provides undergraduate pre-service teachers with the opportunity and privilege to work alongside a parent from the school community, to support them in their English Language Development. For eight weeks, students meet 1-1 with their parent partner, and design and teach English lessons focused on the goals that they established as a team.
An important component of ensuring that this practicum can occur is the collaborative planning and constant communication between myself and Ms. Whited. Throughout the semester, we met regularly to discuss our shared goals and problem solve together through challenges and unexpected roadblocks. Our conversations had to be open and honest in order for our collaboration to be successful. We both listened to one another, and supported one another to make sure that parents had a positive experience and the pre-service teachers were coming each week prepared to make the most of their time alongside their learner.
From the challenges and successes of the practicum, I learned a great deal from Ms. Whited. I witnessed the way she worked with parents to build their leadership capacity and illuminate their talents and gifs—as together they supported teachers and administration in a number of ways. Through some of the tensions that arose with my pre-service teachers, I experienced firsthand, her care, for me as a mujer, as she held space for me. In these moments, I was grateful for the trust we were building that allowed for us grow in new ways.
Our collaboration has extended beyond that Spring Course. We continue our collaboration this semester—because of our shared desire to work and learn alongside one another. I know there is so much more to learn from Ms. Whited and the GT comunidad—& I am committed to her, the parents and the school. Grateful to dear Ms. Whited, my brilliant thought partner, colega and amiga, el corazón de la escuela.