By: Jacqueline Gibbs
It’s seven in the morning and the sun hasn’t even begun to peep through the rainy, grey clouds as floods of children pour out from a line of buses, up the stairs, and through the doors to the sudden outburst of Hey! It’s you! You’re Here! That’s Great! (x10). This is the chant that echoed through the main entrance as all six of my corps team members and I welcomed the students back to their first day of school.
Well… here we are. After a month of basic training we’ve finally stomped our way through the halls of Linden-Mckinley.
I’d like to say walking through the halls brought back memories of my high school days, but since I didn’t have a traditional experience of going to school everything is brand new to me. In a way, this will be a two for one experience for me: going to school and learning how to run a school.
This week my team and I rotated through Math and English classes with the teachers that we will eventually be assigned to for whole class support. What has been most interesting to me through observations is the dramatic, atmosphere difference in each classroom.
While I was warned that the students would test me, I didn’t expect it to happen so soon. Over the course of three class blocks, the list of demands went something like this… Can you get me water? Can I go to the bathroom? Can you get my schedule from my locker? And I believe that’s the song that will never end this year.
This year is the first year that LMSA is enforcing a block schedule so the classes are ninety-minutes long, which means more time to spend in the classroom with the students. I believe this will work to our advantage because it is apparent that behavioral issues and academic motivation are going to be key battles fought this year and addressing these issues will require time. I’m confident in my team in that if we can remain strong together, then we will achieve success. In order not to overwhelm myself, I’ve decided not to get carried away with obscure goals that would disappoint me if I were unable to accomplish them fully. With that said, I’ve decided that if I can be a role model for one student this year, then I will feel the satisfaction that I’ve made a difference by saving one starfish.
I believe that wearing the City Year uniform gives us unity and power, but at the same time we are introducing a new culture so we’re automatically judged by our appearances. One student asked me if I had to wear the “Timbs” and pointed out that I was going to have “sweaty feet” all year. It is moments like this that make me look forward to the many open minded, remarks yet to come.
One of the school staff said that the sound of our voices drew her attention to the office window where she saw us going through the “readiness check”. For the first week I think we accomplished a lot. We made our voices heard.
And that, my friends, is only the beginning of breaking in the soles of our “Timbs”.