Service Learning Reflection
Well, as I am wrapping up this semester of school, it also means that I am wrapping up my service learning part of the course. For my service, I worked for Plymouth Youth Center, an alternative high school in North Minneapolis. I worked as a tutor and helped students with their math problems. At PYC, the students have either returned to school after dropping out or just deciding that they cannot suceed in public school. At this alternative high school, there are small class sizes, of no more than 10 or 15 students. It seems to be a much more personal place than a public school because there are not a lot of students. I went in for at least an hour a week to tutor. The kids that I helped wanted to be tutored, so they were prepared and wanted to learn. I didn't have to deal with students that didn't have the motivation to learn. i enjoyed working with these kids, I felt like i was actually helping them out, and they seemed to appreciate the help. As for the idea of an alternative high school, I must say that i am somewhat against it. I have gone to public schools all my life, and seeing an alternative school was something that was completeley different compared to the system I was educated in. After working there for a whole semester, I cannot see how this is helping the kids. Students could show up when they wanted to , halfway through class just strolling in with some food from McDonalds or maybe just not showing up at all. It looked to me that they just showed up late, got a pass, and strolled into class without any sort of punishment. A couple times I sat in on a math class, and what I saw was pretty much conversation hour. Most of the kids didn't do any math problems, they just sat and talked with their friends for the 50 minutes that they were in there. Im not sure how they earn their GED's, but by the looks of it it doesn't take much. I felt like this was not preparing kids for the real world at all. As far as I know, you can't show up halfway through your work shift and somehow keep your job, and you really can't get far in life without hard work. It seemed to me like this alternative high school is showing kids that they can show up whenever they want, do whatever they want, and be just fine. This really makes me upset. I grew up in school with the idea that you need to go to class on time every day, and you need to do all your work to suceed. This seems to be the opposite of what I saw at PYC. There were some students there that seemed to really want to learn and do their work, and I was lucky enought to work with those kids, but I also saw a lot that seemed to do nothing productive or beneficial there. I felt like I did make a difference to the kids that I helped, because they were motivated to learn and they really did appreciate my help. That was very rewarding for me. The idea of providing service to others is one that I hope to continue throughout my years in school and also into my architecture career.