By: Senta Riley
PITW #33 states, “ Everything feels like a failure in the middle-keep going!”
As my students enter their finals this week, I begin to reflect on my first half of service:
Since day one, my team and I were posed with the challenge of not having a Team Leader, a second year Corps Member that guides their team through the year of service. After being placed into schools and a week into service, it was clear that our team needed a leader. An application and an interview later, I accepted the position of the Team Leader, not knowing what I had gotten myself into. In a typical day, my team and I greet students by name as they enter the school, then once the bell rings I roam the hallways and bathrooms snatching up students and returning them to class. I then return to our team room to work on one our 3 initiatives: Attendance, Behavior, and Course Performance in ELA and Math. In the midst of my daily work, I do not always have the opportunity to see the progress that is being made with the students that we are serving.
This past Thursday, at our after school tutoring session, there were several anxious and eager students that attended in order to catch up on missing assignments that were due the following day and a few who wanted to get a head start on prepping for finals. One student in particular caught my attention. I had worked with her a handful of times when I was in her Algebra class earlier this semester and I saw her progress during various classroom observations. As she entered our room, she requested to work with one of my teammates who was working with other students so I offered to help her. She pulled out a geometry packet and said, “I only need to do 7, 8, and 9. I would also like to time myself because I like the challenge.” She continued to pull out her phone and set her timer to thirty minutes for all three problems. As she started to work on the first problem I could see that she doubted herselfbut she was able to get the correct answer after thinking it through. After getting the answer, she looked at me for confirmation and I told her that it was correct. She jumped out of her chair and shouted out of excitement. As time went on, we continued to work through each problem and we continued to celebrate each small win associated with completing each problem. After some time we had forgotten about the timer, a challenge that she had placed for herself, and completed the three problems within the allotted time frame
Once we were done, she called her mom to inform her that she was done with tutoring and that she would be home shortly, she then asked me if I would like to talk to her mom. I told her mom that I was thrilled about her daughter’s progress and what she has in store for next semester. After hanging up the phone, the student hugged my teammates and I to thank us for all that we have done. Little does she know, it is what she is doing is what is truly making a difference. By taking the initiative and not being has afraid to set challenges for herself, she has taught me to continually look ahead and not be limited by anything.