A Postcard From: Jennifer Orr ’18

Name: Jennifer Orr
Class Year: 2018
Major: Psychology
Hometown: Los Angeles

Internship Placement: Puentes de Salud
Job Title: Puentes Hacia el Futuro Tutor/Intern
Location: Southwark School

What’s happening at your internship?

I am interning at Puentes de Salud’s Summer Literacy Enrichment Program, where I get to work with students ages 8-10 years old and help facilitate their learning in both Spanish and English. With a group of three other tutors, I have been working to teach and supervise a group of 13 students, to engage them in reading and writing about important topics that all relate to the program’s Superhero theme such as Social Justice Superheroes, STEM Superheroes, and Migrant Superheroes. With my group of tutors, I manage the group so that we all know our individual roles and responsibilities for the day. I write up daily detailed itineraries for everyone in the group in order to eliminate miscommunication and confusion in the operations of our classroom. With the kids that I am responsible for, I am privileged to have them share their life stories with me, and it is really rewarding to hear how much the students in my class enjoy the program so much and want to attend the program every day — even on the weekends.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I have been such a huge fan of the work that Puentes de Salud does. As a student who is interested in pursuing a career and graduate studies in public health, the operations at Puentes de Salud have served as an inspiration to me. Puentes de Salud truly strives to address social determinants of health from the ground up, starting with child education, particularly in regards to language literacy. With this internship, I get to be a part of the process by which Puentes de Salud serves its target community, and I get to be involved in the work that this incredible organization does. Additionally, I used to volunteer for a somewhat similar afterschool program in Los Angeles when I was in high school, and I really enjoyed my time working with the children there, and thought that this internship would be the perfect extension of my academic and personal interests.

Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?

Some skills that I am picking up from this internship include learning how to diversify my teaching styles so that the students I supervise can understand the lessons, even if they have very different learning styles. Being able to work with multiple learning styles is important to me because it makes me a better teacher. I also get to learn more about my own learning and teaching styles through this experience. Additionally, I am learning how to be more flexible. As someone who is a bit of a perfectionist, I love to stick to a very strict schedule, however, as one learns when working with kids, you have to be flexible. You can keep the core components the same, but you soon realize that not everything will stick to the plan, as children can be unpredictable. However, unpredictable is not always a bad thing, and can in fact be quite rewarding.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

I recently celebrated a birthday, and when the children in my class found out it was my birthday, they planned an entire elaborate surprise for me. At the end of one of our teaching days, the children I supervised surprised me with handmade cards and artwork that they had been working on all day and had been trying to hide from me. I had not seen any of it coming, and the surprise was truly a group effort. The kids wrote very sweet things about how I was a good teacher or how I was very nice, and it was so touching that they came up with this surprise for me. Even students I had not had the opportunity to get to know as well were incredibly involved in the surprise process (as I got to see in the video my fellow tutors took while my eyes were covered) and it was such a great experience. The children are so sweet and kind and I really love getting to work with them.