Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the ups and downs of City Year

It's been a couple of weeks since I've posted and I feel like it's been a roller coaster with the kids. I was at home in Virginia last weekend and it was a much needed break. It's gotten to the point where I can't stand being the classroom with my teacher because it's so chaotic and crazy. I love pulling kids out though and working with them one on one or in a small group, so I've started doing that in almost every class.

The past two and a half weeks have been emotionally exhausting.  The students are now really comfortable with City Year and with the teachers, so they've been opening up to everyone more and more about what they face when they leave school.  One student came to school with cuts on his face.  When a teacher asked him about it, he said that his mom had drunkenly thrown a plate at him.  The next day, he showed up to school in the same clothes and when the same teacher asked him about it, he admitted that he had been kicked out of his house and slept outside that night.

Another one of my students, who I work with closely was absent for most of last week.  She stopped by school on Valentine's Day, but told me the reason she wasn't at school was because she was sick.  Today, when I was talking to her, she said the reason she wasn't at school was because she was dealing with some stuff.  I asked her what kind of stuff, not really knowing what to expect.  Apparently, one of her friends was shot three times and was in the hospital.  I felt bad because I had given her a hard time about not really being sick because she is absent a lot, but it turns out, she had a legitimate reason for not being at school.

On a more positive note, the reason that all of this is coming out is because the students have really started to trust us.   I have a girl in my second block who has been blatantly disrespectful to me all year.  Today, I was walking another student to class and I told her she couldn't walk with us because she would be late to my class.  If she came with us, she would have to get a tardy pass. Instead of going to class, she walked with us and got the pass.  Then, she waited for me while I took the other student to their class and walked back to our class with me.  Even though she gave me attitude the entire time, it was progress because she has never wanted my help, wanted to work with me, or spend any sort of time with me. It is the smallest step possible, but it's a step.

Another great thing to happen over the past couple of weeks was a note I received from one of my favorite students. I know we're not supposed to have favorites, but I work with this girl A LOT and I feel like I've truly made a difference with her. Biasia, another corps member, had this student write me a note of appreciation. It's one of those notes that I know as keep forever. It's in a pocket in my backpack, serving as a reminder on those difficult days.

After dealing with all of these ups and downs, there wasn't any other place that I'd rather be than at home for a few days.  It was nice to go home, do absolutely nothing, and be with my family. It was a short trip home, but just enough of a break to hopefully get me through the next few months. There are less than four months left. It's going to be a roller coaster, but here's to hoping my seat belt is buckled and I'm ready for the ride!

"Ignore the rain. Look for the rainbow."