EDU 1191 Intro to urban education
August 31st, 2011
K-12 Journey Reflection Paper
I started kindergarten in a private school setting. I attended St. Joseph’s Catholic school
in West St. Paul. I remained there until eighth grade. Then, I went on to Henry Sibley high
school, a public school. I really believe I got to experience both sides of the education spectrum.
At St. Joe’s, the location was in a somewhat urban area. Weiner (2006), describes urban on a
continuum of the area, and the size of the school district. However, the student population
consisted of children who were not affected by urban-ness so much, and lived in the richer cities
surrounding West St. Paul. At Sibley, it was urban all around. There was a vast variety of
people. At St. Joseph’s, I learned with majority of white middle to upper class children.
Describing the scope of my K-12 experiences is going to have to be split into two, as I
was in two totally different environments. At St. Joseph’s, I believe I got an amazing education.
However, there was very little diversity. First off, almost every child in my classes was white,
with the exception of a few adopted children. Secondly, I was not faced with different religious
beliefs, as it is a catholic school. I also did not deal with anybody who had immigrated or lived
in another country previously. Everybody there was high middle to upper class, so the variety
was not very much. Lastly, there were not children with disabilities, as those children were sent
to the public schools, where they could get proper attention and special care.
My transition from eighth to ninth grade was a bit of a shock. I was faced with many
things that I hadn’t before experienced. One of my best friends there was Jewish, and I had
never even met a Jewish person before! Also, there were many students who didn’t speak
English as their first language, as well as students that had emigrated from different countries.
Sibley provided a lot of firsts for me. There were students from all different races,
socioeconomic background, and religion. Also, for the first time, I was in the same learning
environment as children with disabilities. These were not only physical disabilities, but mental
and learning disabilities. Another first was being surrounded by different sexual orientations; at
St. Joseph’s, nobody talked about different orientations, as it was considered “wrong” in their
eyes. Sibley provided me a first look at being around these different orientations.
I feel lucky to have learned in two totally different environments. I think this will have
an impact on my beliefs and practices as an urban teacher. I will not only be familiar with urban
education, but also with the opposite. I will have learned privately and publicly, making me
aware of all the differences that shaped me into who I am today.