Super interesting reading your letter after nine weeks. A lot has changed! The sentence about Book Nook was especially trippy— I could not imagine spending only a few times a week on Book Nook now! That program is my baby at this point, basically the bulk of what I did at Brilliant Detroit. I think that experience has definitely shaped my perspective on the power of technology. A lot of the tutors and children would not have been connected with each other had it not been for the virtual nature of Book Nook. And despite the tutoring happening online and the students being at home, they still developed a sense of camaraderie and connection with each other. I also don’t know if as many students would’ve been a part of the program had things been as they were before quarantine; given the limited space in Brilliant Detroit facilities and how much easier it is to coordinate tutors virtually, I think that’s why Book Nook had as many participants as it did.
I’m also thinking about how nervous I was about not being able to connect with anyone. I do think things being virtual make it harder to know people, but I still managed to connect with others which I really value. Whether it be the families in Brilliant Detroit who I’d call onto Book Nook or the learning group I connected with throughout the last nine weeks for DCERP. I think being a part of these connections will also inform future connections with others as we navigate a quarantine world. I can see how this virtual working experience will inform my student teaching this semester and the work I’ll do with other members in Circle K.
Overall, this experience was not what I anticipated. I knew I’d be working with families though I never thought Book Nook would be something I’d find myself so invested in. I’m happy to have had this as my focus though. I feel like this one big project helped me to connect with families better and better understand what works best for children in a learning context. In terms of DCERP, I didn’t think my learning group and I would’ve done a full 180 from the theme we initially took on. After initially planning on researching education reform, we decided police reform was the topic we were most passionate about and I learned a lot from the work I did and the people I worked with.