Name: Rosa Nanasi Haas
Class Year: 2018
Internship Placement: Puentes de Salud
Job Title: Team Leader
Location: Southwark School
What’s happening at your internship?
The five teachers, including me, worked with the oldest students, teaching fourth- and fifth-grade students. We had a different theme each week: Social Justice Superheroes, STEM superheroes, Animal Superheroes, and Migrant/Hispanic & Latino Superheroes. One of my favorite days was when we asked the students to split up into four groups and research an animal superhero — something an animal can do that humyns cannot and that the students find fascinating. My group chose to research the Giant squid and we learned that the Giant squid has the largest eyes of any animals. We created posters together based on the research we gathered.
Another great day was when we asked the students to write love poems to a part of their bodies. We were focusing on self-care and how it is important to value each part of one’s body for how it enables one to perform different tasks. The poems were funny, creative, and thoughtful. One child wrote a poem to her heart, another child wrote a poem to her feet, and then then six of them got up in-front of the class and performed their poems. Everyone in the class was attentive and supportive of the student who was delivering his or her poem. That day we also talked about different ways to take care of our minds, bodies, and hearts. I was so proud of them.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I applied for this internship because I wanted to improve my Spanish and continue working with some of the students I worked with my first semester in college. My experience as a teacher’s aid at Southwark Elementary School in a kindergarten classroom that initiated a bilingual education program in the Fall of 2014 sparked my interest in bilingual education and the importance of becoming proficient in one’s native language first in order to perform better in English as well as one’s native language. I believe in the idea that education and dissemination of information can not be separated from the health of individuals and communities. I wanted to work with this immigrant community in South Philly and encourage kids to love to read, write, and explore. I wanted to hear the students’ ideas, thoughts suggestions, and opinions.
Living in a new city? What has that experience been like for you?
This was my first time living in an apartment in a city where I had many connections, but had never fully settled. I loved being able to cook with my roommates and eat what I wanted. I felt healthier and freer. I loved being closer to my friends and fellow activists fighting for Black Liberation. I like the people I live with and it was so nice to be able to walk to work.
Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?
I am learning how to work with four other brilliant, thoughtful, caring, opinionated people, which is common in the spaces I find myself in, but can also be difficult when multiple people have different good ideas. I have learned to be more patient and forgiving. It is important to recognize that we are all growing and that is something often easier to see in children. I have learned different strategies for getting kids’ attention, as well as warm-up games to get them energized to learn and work. I am learning how to determine what is worth explaining and how to wait for children to figure problems out on their own.