When I signed up for my position as an AmeriCorps member at Harrison Elementary, I had no inkling what I was getting myself into. The position description was pretty broad and general, so all I really knew about the program was that I would be working with kids in the school. I didn’t know to what capacity I would be working with them or what my duties were to include each day.
I was anxious to arrive on that first day, not knowing what I would be doing or how I would fit into the school culture. My mind was churning with thoughts along the line of “what if the kids don’t like me?”, “how will I ever remember all of these names?”, and “what’s for lunch?”. Soon enough my excitement and curiosity got the better of me, so I set out to join the long line of students waiting to enter Harrison’s historic doors. Little did I know crossing that barrier would lead to a world full of knock-knock jokes and MineCraft..
That first day was definitely an experience I won’t forget but everything that has followed has been quite the adventure! I began to get to know students through a recess program that I have had the privilege to lead. From then on the relationships I have developed with students of all ages has flourished. The types of things I have done for this position have ranged from being a reading instructor all the way to Extreme Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament runner-up (lost in double overtime, I’m still a little bitter). My job is like a roller-coaster with something new and surprising around every twist and turn.
Looking back on everything that this year has brought me so far I completely understand why the description of this position was left so open. There are really no “fixed” duties to be performed. My purpose is to do whatever it takes for children to succeed. Whether that means staying late after school to do extra work with students or bringing in my pet T-Rex, Rosco, for reluctant readers to have an audience. There is absolutely nothing more exhilarating than seeing a child who dislikes books, open up a graphic novel and have their eyes shine with excitement at the new world that has just materialized in front of them by merely turning a page.
I am truly honored to be an AmeriCorps member who has had the opportunities that I have had. Thank you everyone I have worked with this past year. It has been the greatest time of my life.