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The True Story of Hansel and Gretel

This was another beautiful Holocaust story. I like the relationships between each of the characters: the stepmother giving the children German names to ensure their survival, Magda taking them in, Nelka’s care and Telek’s protection, the father’s love for his children, the stepmother’s ultimate sacrifice to protect her stepdaughter, Hansel’s need to act like a big brother to his older sister. All these things gave meaning to the story. I really liked the ending. Having found bread crumbs on the ground, Hansel thought back to when Magda had told him he was a fool for throwing away his bread,as he had just thrown his luck away. Although at that time, he had left breadcrumbs on the forest floor to make sure they could go back home again; but when he realized what he had done, he was mortified. Bread was not something you threw away! So at the end of the book, when Hansel found bread crumbs all over the soup kitchen, he followed it picking up each and every bit as he was determined that he would gather all the luck he had thrown away. The crumbs led him to his father who was helping out in the kitchen. So ultimately, Hansel had followed the breadcrumbs back home. 🙂

Observing a Preschool Classroom 

This doesn’t necessarily belong under student teaching but because it’s similar to gaining experience being in a classroom, I’m putting it under this category. I’m taking three courses this summer and one of these courses is Instructional Strategies in Early Childhood where we are exploring the concepts of play amongst children in the classroom setting. And for that we have to perform our fieldwork in some sort of an early childhood classroom. I finally found a place with the help of my classmate, Katie, who works in a preschool, Chinatown Learning Center, in Philadelphia. It’s an easy commute which makes it easier for me. Today was my first day and I will be going every Wednesday from now to the end of June from 8:30-10:30 am.

I really liked the center. The way it is set up is inviting to both children and parents. Everything is miniature sized for the children starting from the tables, the chairs, cubby holes, sinks where students wash hands when they come in, and even the water fountain. It’s set up like that for them which I really liked. It helped the teachers to see things and teach from the children’s eye level. So they have different centers around the room. There is a science center, a writing center, as well as a center for blocks and dramatic play. One of the teachers pointed out to me that the children tended to stay away from the science and writing centers but flocked to centers like blocks and dramatic play 😊. The centers are all labeled of what is where and what is some of the things called in order to help the children get familiarized to different objects. One thing I noticed was that everything is written in English from the welcome board, to the instructions of how to wash hands, directions, labels, books, etc. this really promoted an environment of English language being spoken in the classroom, despite Chinese probably being their first language. Speaking of which, I was a little bit surprised that the children were speaking English because I as told by Katie that I would probably have to be placed with some of the English speakers as most of the children didn’t speak English. They were conversing with each other and with their teacher in English just fine.

The children are just so cute. I was at a table jotting down notes of the way the classroom looked or how and with who the children played. A little girl came up to me and introduced herself and asked me for my name. She then asks, “Can you help me make a house?” I was like”Yeah” 😊. A little later, another child taps me on the shoulder and introduces himself.  And then there are these tiny little beings inviting me to play with them and constantly saying “Miss Sara, Miss Sara, look!, Miss Sara, do you want me to make you a cupcake?, Miss Sara, do you want to play blocks with me?” And my thought at that moment is This is where I want to be. I mean I would still rather like to teach upper elementary but preschool doesn’t seem that bad anymore 😁.

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I left for the city with my brother early morning. He had a midterm and I was going for observation at a pre-school. I finally got into one thankfully. It’s hard finding schools to perform fieldwork in if you don’t teach. Plus, school is almost over, so it’s hard finding one that goes into the summer. The center is a pre-school in Chinatown, Philadelphia. It’s my first time going there. It’s just like NYC’s Chinatown but way smaller and less crowded. I found a cute little Bubble Tea store, Vivi Bubble Tea, so that was fun. The center where I went is like three or four blocks away from the station so that was convenient. I instantly fell in love with the place. And the kids are just the cutest little things, each and every one of ’em 😊.
After I was done, I made a quick stop at the Bubble Tea store and ordered a Taro bubble tea 😊😋 and walked back to the station. I was waiting for the train when a man came over and showed me his phone. His phone showed me the English translation of a language that I wasn’t sure of at the time because it wasn’t showing it. So the man asked me in broken English how much is a monthly ticket? And I tried to tell him that it depended on where you were going to from here but he didn’t understand. He handed me his phone to write it in English for him so it can translate to… Spanish! My Spanish isn’t that great either. I can understand it well enough but it takes time for me to process, translate, and then say it. So we both communicated in broken English and Spanish for the remainder of the time I was there. His name is Ernesto and he’s from Brazil who came here to study English. It has only been a month since he came. He showed me pictures of his family, his wife and two sons. During our convo, he seemed to have missed his train to Fox Chase. And then my train came, and I had to explain to him that this isn’t his train because it’s not going to where he is. That’s where we parted. I hope he was able to get onto the right train. It was a cool experience ✌🏻️