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This interview with Lauren Davenport was conducted remotely using Zoom on July 30, 2020. Lauren is an English Teacher for 9th-12th graders at Assembly Gateway School for Technology, which is a public school in New York City. She as has two children, ages 9 and 12. In the interview, Lauren discusses her experience attending a public high school in Charlottesville, Virginia and what is was like to teach for Teach For America (TFA) after graduating from college. After one year with TFA, Lauren left teaching and worked for a number of years for Nickelodeon. After seeing a post for the NYC Urban Teaching Fellows program on the subway, she quit her job at Nickelodeon and returned to teaching. The school that Lauren works at now has a focus on technology and serves a population that is majority boys of color. Because of her school's focus on technology, the transition to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic was not as hard as it was for other public schools, but that's not to say that it was easy. Lauren describes the stress she experienced waiting for the Department of Education to close her school as the severity and danger of COVID-19 became clear throughout New York City. She talks about her school's effort to get each of her students at-home wifi and a device to access online learning. She reflects on the adaptations she made to her curriculum and pedagogy during the transition to remote learning and her frustration at still not knowing the format of instruction for this coming school year, which begins in a month.
This interview may be of interest to people interested in New York City public education at the high school level, Teach for America, adolescent men's education, the New York City Department of Education, educational technology, leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, lesson planning for remote education, historical documentation of the COVID-19 pandemic in schools, and the daily life of New York families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Annelise Finney is a European American cis-woman, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently works as a radio journalist covering reparations in California and breaking news in the Bay Area. Previously she worked as defense investigator for public defenders offices in New York City and San Francisco. She is an alum of the 2016 Oral History Summer School. She is also an avid sewist, hiker and cook.
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.