by Director of The Pike School Intern Program Margaret Szegvari
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
As a teacher of teachers, I believe it is my work to instill the importance of civic engagement for students. Beyond the instruction of democracy, we must explore with them the current events and subjects that both unite and divide us as people. As teachers, we must be deliberate in our intentions to connect our students to their learning while we support the development of a wide range of skills. I believe one skill set so often overlooked is that of emotional and cognitive empathy. When given the opportunity to develop in these areas, students are far better able to affect change in their classrooms, their communities, and in the world at large.
Each January, I am honored to be able to explore the historical and current issues facing our nation and our schools through the course I teach, Issues in American Schooling. The interns and I spend much of our time outside of Pike’s campus, visiting area schools, attending school committee meetings, and exploring the themes of poverty and race. This year, we had the unique opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic for a week of service learning. As part of Fathom’s impact travel group, we worked alongside their on-ground partners Entrena and IDDI, two long-standing organizations that have been working to improve the living conditions and life outcomes for those in the Dominican Republic. With these groups, we supported families as they continued with their English instruction. We built water filters and lay concrete floors in homes. We worked hard, we laughed, and we learned together.
Our learning did not end once we returned from the Dominican Republic but has carried into our spring coursework where we are exploring our local communities, meeting with area change agents and politicians, and integrating the elements of service learning into the curriculum we develop. At the heart of our work, we are connected to Pike’s mission and guided by one of the vision statements that asks us to “continually improve a curriculum that focuses on the whole child and imparts the tools needed to succeed in an ever-changing world.” We are revisiting the importance of civic engagement and becoming involved in new ways.
Perhaps you know someone for whom this program would be of interest. We welcome them to come and visit us and see the power of learning to teach elementary age children through Pike’s Teacher Training Program.
The Pike School is an independent, coed, day school for Pre-K through ninth grade in Andover, Massachusetts. Visit pikeschool.org to learn more about Pike – and visit our blog for more thought leadership. To learn more about admission to The Pike School, visit our Admission page.