Working with my students and Phoenix Bikes has been the high point of my year. With all my other responsibilities, I didn’t have the time or perseverance to make the connection to Phoenix Bikes myself. But once I heard that you had brought them to Wakefield, I jumped right in.
As an English teacher of newly arrived immigrant teens–many with interrupted formal education, I struggle to determine what “relevant” instruction is. There is no doubt in my mind that the training offered through Phoenix Bikes is relevant. My students learned repair skills and English vocabulary. They learned to observe and collaborate. They were able to articulate why they suggested a certain classmate to be the recipient of the “Give-A-Bike” bicycle. They developed working relationships with a number of adults with whom they don’t share a language. Also they were able to draw on prior knowledge…something teachers try to activate but often my students’ prior experiences do not prepare them for academic tasks. Here they could shine when it came to using tools and diagnosing mechanical problems.
And they are so proud now that they are beginning to reap the benefits of the “Earn-A-Bike” program. “Did you get to ride your bike home?” I asked a student this morning. He nodded yes as a huge smile covered his face.
Thank you, CIS of NOVA, for all that you have done to bring Phoenix Bikes to Wakefield.
—Debbie Polhemus, Teacher, Wakefield High School; Sponsor, Phoenix Bikes
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