At Jackson Street, much of what I did on a week to week basis was the same. Because of this and in attempt to not continuously repeat myself in my journals I went with a journal for the whole time that I participated in volunteering with emphasis on specific dates.
In the beginning of the semester I was excited to learn that we would be continuing service learning in Architecture 1701. Considering the fact that I had worked with Jackson Street Village in Architecture 1281, I decided to continue work there as I knew where I was going and what my duties would include. Problems getting a hold of Jackson Street Village in the beginning of the semester set me back in terms of my hours but I was eventually able to set up and day and time to volunteer.
Beginning on Wednesday, February 27th, my first couple times, although I had been to Jackson Street before, required some attention towards myself while still helping the children that were there to get help. In some ways it just takes time to adjust to specific types of tutoring. With Jackson Street this was even tougher in that you are working with children of many ages ranging from first to eighth grade. A volunteer at Jackson Street also has to be able to tutor the children in a wide range of subjects as well. Because of these ranges I had to remember to consciously adjust my thinking as I switched between kids so that my explanations to questions that I was asked were comprehended by the children. The other adjustment that I found myself having to make to this volunteering environment had to do with the change in children’s personalities. With the wide range of personalities offered by the children at Jackson Street I found myself working with those children that I had to watch constantly in order to make sure they were doing their work and oppositely, with those that you could give minimal direction and have them work diligently until they were done. Getting these adjustments down to a habit in order to make myself a better volunteer for this specific site took up my first few visits.
In the last weeks of March there was an interesting change in the dynamic at Jackson Street Village. Last semester and even in the first few weeks of this semesters volunteering, Zakiya Tanner, a promise fellow working at Jackson Street who has done an amazing job with the children, and the other volunteers including myself had problems getting the children to keep focused on their homework and keeping this homework designated time from turning into a social time. The change came in the implementation of the rule that if a child refused to work on their work they were sent home and were not able to return to the community center the next day.
This rule caused the tutors to be working with children that were much more dedicated to their work and needed much less help. This was a complicated thing to see because on one hand you had the children that were there working diligently and easily but, on the other hand the kids that were not there were not getting help that they needed. This new rule seemed to have both advantages and disadvantages to it but the biggest change seemed to come in the duties that volunteers were then asked to do. The children that were now there regularly were done with their homework faster and needed less help meaning that for most of the time that the volunteers were at Jackson Street we were reading to the children, being read to, or playing games with them. This rule seemed to change the whole atmosphere of Jackson Street and although it did have some negative effects it seemed to help more.
Overall the tutoring experience was one that created a chance to learn in association with this class and architecture as well as the acquisition of general knowledge that affects me personally. Jackson Street provided me with the perfect place to volunteer, catering to my previous work with children and allowing me to work with a wide variety of individuals instead of just one or two. All of these components made my time spent at Jackson Street an enjoyable one and made it a place that I would recommend to anyone looking to volunteer in a community.