2015-02-09

by Emily Siskind, AmeriCorps member serving on the Wellington Management team with Trotter Innovation School

It was the summer before my senior year of college, and more and more  I was asked the overwhelming question: “What are your plans after graduation?” As an education and psychology student, I knew I wanted to pursue my passions for education and for working with children, but I was not entirely sure which path of education I wanted to follow. Did I want to be a classroom teacher, or a specialist in the school? Could I combine my interest in psychology and education by becoming a school counselor? Was I ready to commit to a graduate school program that would determine my future? I knew I was not ready to pick one track, and I decided I wanted to explore my interests in the field of education through gaining experience in the classroom.

During a conversation with my mom about my unsettled post-grad plans, my mom suggested that I look into City Year. I had never heard of City Year before, but I immediately visited the website and began exploring every link. I read about the achievement gap, City Year’s approach to remedying that problem, and the positive impact that City Year has in high-poverty communities by partnering with schools and providing support to students, teachers, and administrators. I was attracted to the focus on the ABCs—Attendance, Behavior, and Course Performance in English and math—as a way to target students who are at risk for dropping out of high school and helping them get back on the route to graduation.

After reading a sample “Day in the Life of a City Year” schedule, I felt energized and excited. A busy schedule with very purposeful interactions with students and teachers throughout the day enthused me. I was further drawn in by the team aspect of the organization; having the opportunity to work with a team of 8-15 passionate individuals. Serving as a mentor to students in an inner-city school seemed like a great way to grow as an individual through learning from the diverse experiences and perspectives of others.

Reflecting back on my five months as an AmeriCorps member, I am so grateful for my experience thus far. I am a part of a supportive team, and I have the privilege of serving in a 6th-grade classroom under the supervision of an experienced and dedicated math teacher.

Serving as a mentor in the classroom, I have had the opportunity to work closely with individual students and develop meaningful relationships with them as I learn from my partner teacher about how to provide whole-class support and to implement effective teaching strategies.

Although I am still unsure of the next steps, I want to take in advancing my career, City Year is providing me with the opportunity to explore my different interests, to identify my true passions, and to make an impact on the lives of young students who have such great potential.   

Interested in joining the corps? The next application deadline is February 15.

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