I've been writing these in a notebook on bus rides, but here are my service learning journals, finally typed up
Well, I’m back at the same place as last semester (PYC). I help out with the 5th and 6th graders in the after school program. I know most people pick the really little kids, but I volunteered for a few years with the after school daycare in my hometown, and found that, although cute, a lot of kids make a LOT of noise. Middle schoolers are a fun age to work with, though, and in my opinion, they’re the most important to help guide. One of my little brothers ended up having to go to an alternative high school after one year of regular high school and one year of no school because problems were not caught and corrected early enough. Elementary schoolers are generally good, and are not being confronted with enough bad things to influence them, but middle schoolers get confronted and enticed by a lot more, and, additionally, are in a really awkward age. Thus, I am pretty committed to mentoring them.
I really love PYC, and think it is a great organization, but really wish the neighborhood was a little less sketchy. I had to leave at 4:30 today because I did not want to be waiting for a bus in even remote darkness alone.
A little girl called me Rapunzel today because of my hair, which I found quite amusing. I also observed another one eating her peanut butter and jelly sandwich with her whole face (which I hear is a regular occurrence) during group snack time, and was once again grateful that I am working with slightly older children. I am really impressed with how much the kids here respect the teachers. I guess I respect the teachers here a lot, too, because of their commitment to working with children not from the best neighborhood. The program seems to be working pretty well, and seems pretty well thought out and set up.
I had to leave pretty early again today to not wait for the bus in the dark.
Someone else started volunteering at the same time as me, and it’s getting lighter, so I did not have to leave as early! Yay! I mainly watched a rehearsal for some play today, and helped keep the kids in the audience quiet. I have been involved with theater projects for a very long time, and thought that, for an elementary school production in its early stages, it was going extremely well. Also, I would like to mention how much I love the Capri Theater. There is nothing like the arts to get people so involved that they have very little time to get in too much trouble. Brilliant! Always worked for me. As a child, dancing basically was my social life. Sometime, I really would like to see a dance rehearsal here. Occasionally, I see the kids in my class practicing hip-hop moves after break, and I think seeing a class would be fun.
Because of the separate times of college spring break and elementary/middle school spring break, I haven’t volunteered in a few weeks. However, I can now stay much later, which is awesome. I helped some kids with math and spelling today. I really do not understand the "alternative" math taught to younger kids. Six different schools by 6th grade, so I had about half "alternative" math and half "traditional" math, and can honestly say that the traditional was far more valuable. Actually, I do not remember a thing of the "alternative" math that actually helped me. I had hoped that it had been phased out by now, but I guess not. In my hometown, I know that the alternative math had to start being supplemented with traditional math worksheets, and eventually was entirely eliminated. I really hope, for the sake of kids’ understanding, that it gets eliminated everywhere pretty soon.
One of the girls in the class read to me for a long time today. It’s nice getting to recall books that I read way back when. The kids here have a lot of reading time, it seems, which I am very happy about. I remember loving to read in elementary school (still do), but during middle school, high school, and college, having progressively less time to do so. It’s nice that these kids have time set aside to just read.
It was standardized testing week, so the kids were still outside unwinding when I arrived today. So, I got dragged into a game of tug of war by some kids that I think are bigger and stronger than me (no lie). It was fun, though. Then, I jumped rope with the girl who called me Rapunzel awhile back, who is ridiculously adorable. This week, another girl read to me during the reading time. It seems that the kids are getting a lot more comfortable around me, which is great. After reading, we played Brain Quest, which was fun. Some of these kids are pretty smart, I’ve got to say.
The kids must be learning about butterflies now, because there was a big discussion about some caterpillars in a dish that looked like they would be forming cocoons pretty soon. Then, they played some logic game about going four people left, three right, two more right, one left, and so on. I did not get to do much in line of helping kids today, but I think that it’s getting to that time in the year when educational games are about the only educational anything they’ll pay attention to. I don’t blame them, though. They definitely had to wait awhile for spring this year, so spring fever is totally understandable.
I have 9.5 hours right now, so I will be going back next week, and I’ll post that then if this isn’t graded yet.