Philly campus a rewarding experience

lacey-wardLacey Ward ′09
English major with an emphasis in literature, and a minor in Urban Studies
Catasauqua, Pennsylvania

Throughout the 2009 academic year, Lacey Ward hit the streets and the books as both a student at Messiah’s Philadelphia Campus [MCPC] and a teacher’s assistant at William Penn High School, ultimately earning her the right to stand among Philadelphia’s finest young educators.  Now, as she prepares for her greatest challenge—the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows program—Ward looks back to what got her started on this unexpected journey.

“I grew up in a very small town and never imagined I’d live and work in a big city,” says Ward. “Then, in my sophomore year at Messiah’s Grantham campus, a friend suggested the Philadelphia Campus [at Temple University]. From what I had heard, it was a wonderful program and offered many diverse opportunities to work in the city. I decided to go for the fall semester of my junior year, with no intention of staying longer.  Next thing I know, I’m carrying at full course load at MCPC, and working 24 hours a week as an English tutor at the high school—falling in love with teaching, the students, and the city.”

Teaching in the inner city is a lot more than ABCs and 123’s, as Ward quickly learned.  “Many of the students are from struggling families, many lack motivation,” she says. “I try to react with understanding of each student’s particular situation and work toward finding a solution rather than simply assuming there is none.”

The assignment, spanning nine months, was no easy task, says Ward, and could have taken an emotional and physical toll if not for the continual encouragement she received from faculty and staff at MCPC.  “I never would have made it without the incredible support I received from MCPC staff. They talked me through major decisions and gave me direction.  While it was an extremely rigorous and sometimes stressful time, I loved it.”

Now, as Ward prepares to enter the coveted Philadelphia Teaching Fellows program—which recruits outstanding professionals and recent graduates to teach in critical need areas such as special education, mathematics, physics, and chemistry—she is determined to succeed.

“My experience at William Penn has made me proud of my career choice,” she says. “My interactions with those students were the stepping stones into the teaching fellowship. Without that experience, I don’t know that I would feel as directed with my life as I do now.”

Posted in 2009, Education, English, Internships, Philadelphia Campus | Comments Off

Posted on May 4th, 2009

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