Morning Greeting

By: Kaely Moore, corps member serving at Lake Middle School

So, my team has been slacking lately.

The frigid weather and dark mornings inherent of a Colorado winter have forced our first circles into the warmth of the City Year room over the last few weeks or so. We’ve still spent quality time each day chatting with students who wander into the cafeteria for breakfast, but it hasn’t been anything like the energetic games we used to play with them before the bell rang to signal the start of homeroom.

Last week, two of my teammates decided that something about our subdued indoor greetings needed to change. They suggested that — in an effort to raise our spirits, improve our team morale and interact with more students — we return to our previous routine of gathering outside and finding creative ways to say, “Good morning,” to Lake Middle School.

Corps members circle together on a "Spirit Break" before another day of service at Lake Middle School

The important thing to remember about morning greetings in City Year is that they aren’t just for the kids; they’re for the corps members, too. Yes, participating in a positive activity before the day even starts is beneficial because it gets the students engaged and excited to come to school. But it is also pivotal for us as a team because it helps to wake us up, and enables us to walk into what may become a stressful day with an initially positive mindset.

We began today with a small football scrimmage between four corps members and four eighth graders.

Note of interest, here: I am not athletic. In the slightest. I enjoy sports, and I enjoy trying to be athletic when people are willing to teach me. But ultimately, I have always been that girl in the outfield picking four leaf clovers and dandelions. That being said, the football we used belonged to me, and I figured I should give playing a shot. For the kids.

I ended up catching the ball! With my face. We gained a few yards, and I gained a fat lip that I hurriedly attempted to brush off in an effort to not look quite so pathetic in front of my students and my more athletically inclined teammates.

A funny thing happened, though, as I picked myself up and examined the grass stains on my khakis. My eighth grade boys, who I would have expected to roll their eyes in exasperation and simply walk away, began patiently instructing me on the correct way to catch a football. I trudged off to class when the bell rang, my ego still wounded and my head still pounding. But I also felt strangely satisfied.

This is the City Year experience. It is trying new things, and sometimes failing miserably. It is tutoring students, and allowing for those times in the day when your students can tutor you. Tomorrow, I look forward to meeting my team outside and watching the sun rise over the city. I’m excited to greet my students, to convince them that they are happy to begin another day, and to learn whatever they have to teach me.

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