By: Maddy Stokes, corps member
As the second half of my service year begins, I think back to my expectations of City Year before the start of the year, compared to what my reality looks like now. To be honest, before arriving in Denver my attempt to explain City Year to my family was a jumble of incomplete sentences having to do with inner-city education and a year commitment to fill a time in my life that I didn’t know what else to do with.
In the first weeks on the job, City Year staff prepared us with endless trainings on how to bring City Year culture to our schools. I was equipped with tried and true educational tools to teach these students new vocabulary and help them become successful students. However, as in every job there are just some things you can never be trained for:
1) Being called “Miss”
Perhaps originating from a sign of respect, this term has molded into a lazy excuse for students to not remember corps members’ names. “Miss, Miss I need your help” or “Miss, I’ve been calling you forever, why don’t you ever listen to me?” To this I typically respond, “Well, because you use the term ‘Miss’ and I demand you at least remember my name if you are going to remember anything this year.”
2) The use of the term “Sike” (And yes I did spell that correctly. At least according to the students)
Yup, I thought it was a term of the 1970s, but apparently it’s back.
3) Chaotic hallways
It took us a couple weeks to discover that one of the most important times of our job at school is during crossing periods. In a span of four minutes, hundreds of students must funnel through one double doorway. This process is significantly slowed down if two corps members are not posted at the doorway holding the doors open. On the plus side, it also provides an excellent time to say hello to students and hassle them for being late to class.
Oddly enough, over winter break I missed being called “Miss” and being taunted with inappropriate questions. I included the word “sike” into my everyday language and received confused looks from my family and friends. My transitions between rooms seemed all too easy. At the end of the day, I longed for the quirks of my new found amazing reality. Luckily, it was waiting for me when I returned to school in 2012!