Thursday, October 22, 2009

My First Day of Service: Alaina S

I learned a lot on my first day of service. The trainings and school observations I’d done made me confident and optimistic that things would go well. I arrived at the school at 8:15am and met with my team. An excited energy permeated our morning circle and I couldn’t wait to try the “make it rain” activity with the students. As we walked into the cafeteria the students ran over, saying hello and excited by our presence. We lined them up and began the activity. Ha! We had all grossly underestimated the energy level 6-11yr olds can have at 8:40am. The intended rainstorm became a tornado as wiggling children flailed and ran around the room.

Lesson learned #1: morning greetings should be CALMLY engaging. Once in the classroom it was a bit of a challenge but eventually the kids settled down. I was overwhelmed, floating around the room trying to help kids who were struggling and keep others on task. Just as I began to wonder how useful I was really being, one of the most disruptive students asked me to help her with her work. She asked me if I was in school and when I told her I had just graduated from college she replied, “wow, I want to do that one day.” Then she said she was glad I was in her classroom and that if I would help her with her work she would behave.

Lesson learned #2: I really am a role model to these kids. By the afterschool program I was smiling but exhausted. Academic power hour and activities flew by and before I knew it I was walking to the metro. I could hardly fathom how tired I was after just one day in an elementary school.

Lesson learned #3: working with children is incredibly physically and emotionally draining (especially when you put 100% into it). On the train-ride home I reflected on the day and found myself grinning as I thought about how I couldn’t wait to go back and give it another try the next day.

Lesson learned #4: I really do have the crazy-passionate idealism of a City Year corps member.

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