An awesome aspect about DePaul is that it prides itself with having classes having to do with being outside of the classroom. One example is the junior level class where students are required to take an Experiential Learning course. This could be a study abroad, an internship, or a specific class; however, this is a course where DePaul forces you to do something in your major outside of the classroom.
I took the TCH 320: Exploring Teaching in Urban High School for my Experiential Learning course. Although I wanted to do an internship, this class is required for the TEACH program and also satisfied the credit. What I did not know going into this course is that students actually have to spend time in an urban high school. Students must have 20 student-teacher observation hours at a CPS (Chicago Public School) that you get placed at, in the subject matter you’re interested in teaching.
Although I was very scared about going to some high school I did not know, this experience is going to stay as a highlight of my DePaul career so far. I was very nervous on my first day, but, since then, I have really been looking forward to doing my observation hours. I was placed at Noble Street College Prep School, a CPS school in between the West Village and Wicker Park. I followed three classes - an AP Literature class with seniors, and two different AP Language class with juniors.
I am just finishing up my 20 hours right now and I am so happy about my decision. After spending time in an environment I have never been to before, I realized that I indeed do want to be a teacher. Coming from a very secluded and white area in Los Angeles, I was happy for the opportunity to see a very different type of school, and one that I hope I can work at for the future. My teacher has been an amazing mentor, and the school treated me well. Not only did I have an excellent experience, I now have a newfound knowledge of how education works and a connection with Noble Street for the future. The junior Experiential Learning courses and experiences are a great addition to the programs DePaul has to offer!