Saturday, January 19, 2013

These kids are wild (in a good way...mostly)!

What a week.  My outside life has been pretty calm. I finished dogsitting and joined a gym, so I've been going pretty frequently which is nice. It's a really nice distraction and just alone time, which is hard to come by. City Year, though, has been extremely eventful. Mostly good things, but some disheartening things as well. I don't even know where to begin, so I'm just going to list things that have happened.

1. Monday, I was talking to a group of students I was working with about new year's resolutions. It's a little late in January, but it's a fun topic that is great to talk about with students, so I've been dragging the topic out.  Anyways, I was asking the students what their new year's resolutions were and they were sharing. One of them was to stop talking as much, which was great for this student who is a constant talker.  I was saying how my resolution was to go to the gym at least three times a week.  The student who said he wanted to stop talking said "It's okay Ms. Russo.  Some people are just thicker than others." hahahaha I just laughed.

2. We hired a new staff member for CYJax!  Her name is LaKeshia and she's our new Operations and Development Coordinator.  She's a CY alum and went to grad school for social work.  She seems really nice and awesome at her job. I think I'll probably be working with her a decent amount. I think it'll be good for the organization.

3.Wednesday,during third block, I pulled a student out who is notorious for his bad behavior.   He is constantly out of his seat, talking and not doing his work.  Adrienne pulled him and another student last time and he spent the entire time just bugging the entire student.  So, today, when my teacher asked me to pull him, I was not excited. Somehow, he has in his mind that Adrienne and I will all of the "trouble makers" and it'll be fine. After lunch, my teacher handed the student a scholarship warning, which means the student has a D or an F in the class.  The student got mad and was like "How are you going to give me the scholarship warning the day before the quarter ends?" (I agree with the student...they have to give them out a week before).  My teacher then proceeded to lecture the student on his attitude. I would have an attitude, too, if I was that student.  My teacher doesn't tell the students their grade on anything, so he had no way of knowing.  Anywayssss,  I told the student that I would work with him in the library since that's what my teacher had asked originally and obviously having him in class wasn't working. When I took the student down to the library, he sat down right away, wrote a really great essay and then asked for make up work to bring his grade up! I was so impressed and so happy to see this student doing well.  I don't think that he's perfect, but I think he needs to be given the chance to do well. I was a very proud corps member that day.

4.  While I was working with that student in the library, a lot of other stuff was going on in the classroom.  Before the students left for lunch, I saw a student (John) go up to another student (Devon) and talk to him.  It wouldn't be weird, except that these two students have never interacted to my knowledge.  John is a pretty friendly kid, so I didn't think much of it.  My teacher was sitting right by Devon's seat though and overheard the conversation.  Apparently, John said something along the lines of "Hey, is everything good to go?" and Devon replied "Yeah, it's all set." My teacher looked over and saw a plastic bag sticking out of his shirt.  When the students were released to lunch, my teacher followed them downstairs and saw Devon, John and another student go into the bathroom.  My teacher alerted the assistant principal.  When the students got back from lunch, John and the other student were gone.  Devon was back, though, and the assistant principal came and pulled him out of class. When Devon was asked to empty his pockets, five dime bags of marijuana were found.  Devon was arrested and escorted off campus in handcuffs.  So sad. Devon had a lot of issues all year and wasn't even in school most of the time.  When he was, he was having nervous breakdowns, hallucinations and always seemed to be high. It seemed like he was getting a little bit better, but I guess not....

5. Today is the National Day of Service and City Year sites across the nation are doing service either today or on MLK day on Monday.  In DC, the corps members painted an elementary school and had two special guests...the Obamas!! How cool! Photo: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama join a school improvement project on the National Day of Service at Burrville Elementary School in Washington, D.C., Jan. 19, 2013:

I hope you're all having a great three day weekend!

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

-MLK Jr.