Kimberly Meyer '17

01/18/18

Meyer steps out of comfort zone in Chicago

Kimberly Meyer, a music and music education double major from Defiance, Ohio, decided to step outside of her comfort zone by completing her student teaching experience in a completely new setting—Chicago.

“I've always wondered what it would be like to teach outside of rural Ohio,” said Meyer, a 2017 graduate who completed her studies in December. “The more I learned about the Chicago program, the more I knew this is what I wanted to do. I decided that if I went and did not like it, at least I had the experience.”

Meyer taught at Irma C. Ruiz Elementary School, an arts magnet school with about 700 students from pre-k to 8th grade with the population being 97 percent Hispanic. At the school, she found a strong sense of community.

“It almost felt like a family with how the staff and students interacted with each other,” said Meyer. “The faculty and staff really work together to give the students a wonderful experience and give them a lot of opportunities to explore.”

In addition to student teaching, Meyer also served as the assistant vocal director and conductor for the musical production of “The Addams Family.” She provided guidance to students from three schools: Irma C. Ruiz, Jungman Elementary School and Benito Juarez High School.

The experiences have strengthened her passion and commitment to teaching. “I’m amazed at how my students have grown since I started at Ruiz and it makes me excited to experience this in my own classroom.”

Meyer completed the experience under the guidance of the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture. Through the program, education majors work in a Chicago public school classroom to complete their student teaching and cross-cultural requirements. Participants attend weekly seminars and have the chance to process their experience with peers and supervisors to learn more about the challenges and promises of urban education.

She described the semester as one of the best decisions she’s ever made, and urges others to take a leap of faith.

“Go experience something completely different from where you currently are, you may learn more than if you would have stayed within your comfort zone. I truly believe that if you do not try something new, you will never know what it is like. You should never have to question ‘what would have happened if’ about anything. It may be scary and intimidating, but if you let the experience guide you, you will learn a lot about yourself and how you want to go about your life.”

-B-

-Jena O’Brien, public relations student assistant