This fall, SCH’s Lower School is enjoying the spunk and energy that Cameron Hodges brings to the classroom. Hodges, who spends his days alongside Monica Egen and the 2nd-grade boys, is the newest member of the Independent School Teaching Fellows (ISTF) program at SCH. Created in 2016, the ISTF program was established to address the perennial need for teachers from underrepresented groups, particularly BIPOC/teachers of color, in independent schools. Their mission states: ”We seek to recruit, train, and retain talented college graduates of color to become effective, empathic, and creative teachers.” This program has been a wonderful source of educators early in their careers who become integral members in a variety of independent schools and learning communities.
As a young boy, Hodges vividly remembers his 2nd-grade teacher and how much effort he poured into him as a young child. “He was the first and only Black male teacher I had throughout my time at Abington Friends School.” He admits, “At the time I didn’t realize how valuable that was for me, but now that I am a young teacher I realize that is what I want to be for my current and future students.”
Only two months into the school year, Hodges notes, ”SCH has a true sense of community and collaboration. There has not been a time where I felt as though I couldn’t ask a question or ask for help. And that is something as teachers here that we are instilling into the kids as well. Allowing space for failure and uncertainty is a lot easier when everyone in the community is supportive, non-judgmental, and overall willing to step in.”
Outside of school and the classroom, Hodges loves to build LEGO. He says, “I have always had a passion for hands-on activities building and finding out how things work. And in the midst of that, I will have some kind of music playing. Music is the rhythm of life and when I am by myself I am the star of my own music video!”
As part of a two-year ISTF cohort, Hodges attends professional development at Penn Charter on Fridays—where sessions explore best practices in teaching and learning, salient cutting-edge research in education, and culturally responsive approaches to teaching—and will move on to teach there this spring. He also plans to begin classes for a master’s in education in the new year.
Head of Lower School Douglas Wainwright shares, “Cameron has brought so much energy and enthusiasm to the Lower School. We have been fortunate to work with him this fall as he learns about teaching elementary school.”