By: Chance LeBeau
Since the Corps arrived back for service after the new year the organization has posed one question to us: ‘How do we finish off the year strong?’ The answer to this question varies across the board. What events can we still pull off? How can we continue to impact our students’ learning and behavior in the final months of service? How do we make sure our teams stay cohesive and on task as the days start to get nicer? These are all very valid follow-up questions. But the one that has seemingly unified the corp is, how do we prepare our students to be successful without us next year?
Throughout the year we have worked with students on their attendance, behavior and class performance. Before, during and after school you can find a City Year either working restlessly or having candid conversations on these topics with students. We have our starfish who have completely embodied everything we’ve equipped them with and done complete 180’s, and there are other students who just need a little guidance every now and again. Every student in our classes has been offered this mentorship over the year at one point or another. We’ve seen the growth, and it’s scary to think that without some of us present next year some of these students will fall back into old habits.
This semester I’ve struggled with figuring out how to wean my students off my support and service. Though in some capacity I would love to return to my school and students next year, I’m aware that in my life after City Year will be filled with new responsibilities that may conflict with that desire. I cannot make promises to my students, as I may not be able to keep them. I’ve taken a more passive role with my students this semester, observing them more now than in the past, and I’ve realized that my students will be just fine without me. Watching them work this semester I’ve realized they are independent workers and completely invested in their own futures. They problem solve with each other when disputes arrive and they pressure their parents on their own to get them to school in time. I’ve already helped to instill a sense of self-sufficiency in them, and now the new question I must pose to myself is: How do I learn to trust them to be without me?