By Amara Sardelli '16, AmeriCorps member of the Trustey Family team with Grew Elementary School
Dear past self,
You are about to embark on a nine month journey filled with twists and turns. You know those roller coasters that creep slowly up until they reach the top and then plummet down in a multitude of twists and turns until you don’t know what’s up and what’s down? Well, a year of service with City Year is not at all like that. Instead of being a roller coaster with a rise and descent, it is rather a steady stream of turns and lurches all the way to June 17. But don’t be afraid to get on.
As tough as some days are, getting on the roller coaster that is a "City Year" is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
It’s going to be uncomfortable at times. You will be pushed way out of your comfort zone and you will have days where you’re fighting to just stay on the ride. But at the same time, it is thrilling and there will be days where you feel on top of the world. As tough as some days are, getting on the roller coaster that is a "City Year" is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I’m pretty sure that on any given day, I experienced the full range of possible human emotions. The bliss of working with a student who was engaged and positive was sometimes overshadowed by anxiety when I realized that they didn't seem to be comprehending the content that I was trying to explain to them. The pride I felt when a student had improved so much from the beginning of the year could have turned pessimistic when I noticed that they were having a tough couple of weeks. Despite these challenges and anxieties, you must find ways to keep improving yourself and your students.
Not only will you learn effective teaching and mentoring strategies—you will also learn more about yourself, your values, and who you want to be.
You already know that City Year aims to help students improve, and you’re excited to do just that. What you don’t know is that this year will help you grow and improve immensely. Not only will you learn effective teaching and mentoring strategies—you will also learn more about yourself, your values, and who you want to be. Going into City Year, I already knew I wanted to teach, but this year has really made it clear to me what kind of teacher I want to be. Watching my partner teacher and other teachers in the school teach has inspired me to take aspects of their teaching styles and create my own.
Working with my students has helped me realize just how important it is to be an empathetic and effective AmeriCorps member, because everything I do affects real people. It may sound daunting, but it pushes you to do your best every day.