After our first team breakfast, everybody gathered to watch a short clip about changing education paradigms. The video followed an engaging group discussion about what could be improved about the education system and how students should be sorted based on their ages, ability or interests. All team members agreed that learning should be made more of a collaborative and not isolated experience where students are not treated like manufactured products but like promising individuals. The discussion emphasized that non-academic did not mean non-smart.
Even though the members have already warmed up to each other from daily interactions like traveling and cooking together, we played group bonding games like human knot. It was more strenuous than any of us expected but we finally succeeded in getting closer to each other, literally.

The visit to the Studio Museum in Harlem inspired a heartening discussion about the stereotypes the Black population have to endure, even in today’s times. The team’s favorite was “The Jerome Project” where Titus Kaphar tried to personify the repercussions of imprisonment of the overrepresented African American population with tar. The team leader pointed out how Muhammad Ali’s poem “Me, We” conveniently summarized what we, not only as individuals but also as a team were trying to accomplish on this trip.

It was my first time watching the “Freedom Writers” and I finally realized what the hype was all about! Discussions about the movie covered topics like the difference between white supremacy and white ally, striving to earn respect from students, communicating with them the true purpose of education etc. Acknowledging the problems with the education system and blending in all that we learnt, we discussed the best ways to teach students of different levels of competency.

One thing is for sure, none of us can wait to meet our students and finally begin teaching!