Andres discusses his favorite parts of his work study job

| November 29, 2016

Andres Perez, a M.A. student in Sociology and Education Program, discusses his favorite parts of his work study job and wants to leave a message for future practitioners in the field of education.

Length: 3 mins 5 secs

Transcript

Andres: This is Andres Perez. I am a Master of Arts student within the Sociology and Education program.

Interviewer: So, what were you doing before coming to Teachers College?

Andres: Before coming to Teachers College, I was working for a congresswoman in Washington DC, Susan A. Davis. She represents San Diego, my hometown there, and I felt so honored and lucky to work with a congresswoman. She was very progressive in areas that I cared about. She cared about teacher diversity. She cared about supporting students’ social, emotional learning. She supported making sure that all kids everywhere had access to a great education. And I really enjoyed supporting her with figuring out how to vote on different bills,  and which bills needed to be introduced. One of the things her and I worked on that I really loved was a teacher diversity summit that the Department of Education held.

Interviewer: What current work are you doing that you care about most?

Andres: You know I really love my classes, but I feel like sometimes the best education takes place outside the classroom. And I’m lucky enough to work at a school in Harlem, Frederick Douglass Academy II. It’s a work-study job through REACH, which is a non-profit funded by Teachers College, and I coordinate the after-school programs there. There’s one student, Claravelle. I can’t say enough about Claravelle. Claravelle goes to chess during lunch, and she loves going to the debate club after school. Now it’s hard getting kids to go to after-school clubs at FDA II, but Claravelle is the only debate member from that school. She joined a couple of the kids from another school, but she goes every single Tuesday and Friday. Every single. Ninth grade young lady, just caring and trying so much. And she has a smile that you don’t see often, but when she does, it really shines.

Interviewer: What message would you like to leave for future practitioners in your field?

Andres: I think I would want to make sure that individuals take time to think about the ground level. What it actually look like in a school. I think sometimes when you’re in the school building you’re looking at data, you’re looking at different graphs and charts, and you’re trying to make an assumption about real people. And sometimes you forget real people have things that come up in their everyday life. That doesn’t mean they don’t care, that they’re not trying hard enough. It just means, hey, it’s really hard because this is a single mom who’s also working as a teacher and doing night classes. Or hey, this is a student whose parent has cancer and that affected their attendance for this week. And I think that when you take time to not look for trends, but appreciate the randomness of everyday existence, that it really helps contextualize this… your approach to a solution with an education.

Interviewer: Thank you for talking to Teachers College community, Andres.

Andres: Thank you.