My name is Kiara–my friends call me Kiki. I am going into my senior year at The University of Akron in Akron, OH. My major is communication and media studies with a minor in creative writing. I am currently staying in the Chicago area for the summer for an internship with Dr. Jeanne Porter King, my aunt. One of my internship assignments is to help digitize her messages and write about my experiences.
I’m staying with her and my uncle Carl. I arrived here about two weeks ago and I’m loving every minute of it so far! You see, I’ve been to Chi-town plenty of times before. My aunt has lived here since before I was born! Do me a favor, don’t try to calculate her age. I’m trying to continue my stay here, not get shipped back home! But, each time I come to Chicago I feel more and more at home!
My aunt used to live near downtown, in Hyde Park. So, from visiting her throughout my childhood, I somewhat feel like the city is meant for me! The chaos of the city, the smell, the people, the restaurants on every corner. Cool places to visit such as Navy Pier, the museum of natural history, and let’s not forget the beach! There’s also awesome means of transportation like the Double Decker buses, taxis, and, of course, the “L” Train. I just love how the city is so alive and thriving, and so fast paced! Now, I know what some of you from Chicago might be thinking, “is this chick crazy? There’s nothing remotely interesting about Chicago!” Well, you have to remember, I’m from Ohio, where the only cool things we have are, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Cedar Point. Besides that, there’s nothing but trees and country smells.
My aunt now lives outside of the city, in a small suburb with her husband. It’s a very nice community, nice properties, good places to eat, very quiet compared to the city. She keeps trying to talk my uncle into moving back into the city, but he is not having it! What can I say? You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl! While being out here I managed to land another internship, this one is at an elementary school. My internship position is a teacher’s assistant. Basically what I do is help assist teachers anyway I can. Last week was the first week of the summer school program. It’s a three-week summer program that gets students ready for the next grade they are entering into to.
For starters, the elementary school is predominantly black. Which is a big difference from where I grew up. The majority of the students here are black, the principal is black, and the majority of the staff is black, including the teachers. I grew up in a predominately white school district. The majority of my teachers were white as well as my classmates. Thinking back, out of all the teachers I had in K-12, I only had 4 black teachers– and two of them were gym teachers. So, witnessing a predominantly black elementary school was definitely a great feeling! While doing my internship last week, I got the pleasure of working with some students and I loved every minute of it. I sat in on a 3rdgrade class. the teacher was teaching them perimeter and area and was also giving them reading lessons. I assisted them with the different activities they had to complete.
The teacher broke the class up into different groups, the group I was helping had different papers with problems about area and perimeter. Now mind you, I am 22 years old. I haven’t thought about area since I don’t know how long. She told me to help the students and she handed me a paper as well. So, I began looking over the paper and anyone who knows me, knows math is not my strong suit! I looked around and everyone was waiting for me to help them. So, I’m completely blanking as I’m staring at the paper, the kids are watching me stare at the paper. So, the first thing out of my mouth is, “who can tell me what you do with area?” and a little girl replied, “You multiply the length times the width!” I played it off like I’d already known the answer and replied “yes! You are correct, good job!” Now, you know I googled it to make sure and to refresh my own memory. By the way, my aunt is reviewing geometry with me as I type.
Working with them really surprised me because in the classroom I was helping in, the kids were so well-behaved and so well-mannered. They would ask if they were having trouble with questions, not one of them was disruptive. I will say children can talk a lot! One second, we’d be discussing the assignment, the next thing I know, the kids would be having their own conversations with each other about the most random things. Ice cream, rollercoasters, donuts, families, pets. One girl randomly asked me about Harriet Tubman! Their minds are like a constant spinning wheel, so every second they are discussing something new and It was very funny to watch. Overall, my experience with the elementary school kids has been a great one! I’m very excited to meet the other classes and help out where I can for the next 2 weeks!
This summer is going to be a great intergenerational learning experience. I have a lot to teach my aunt about the digital space and social media. For example, you know those GIFs that get posted on FB and Twitter? Well, she pronounces them with a hard “g” like gift. I keep telling her it’s gif like Jiffy Peanut Butter, but she is pressed on the hard “g.” So, we had to look it up for ourselves and to make the long story short, it’s gif like Jiffy Peanut Butter!
In all seriousness, I have a lot to learn about leadership and communication from her, and the women I’m surrounded by at the school. I’m excited for this summer internship.
Stay tuned for next week’s happenings.