By Erin Green, City Year Milwaukee, AmeriCorps Member on the Brewers Community Foundation Team serving at Roosevelt Middle School of the Arts
5:30AM—My phone alarm wakes me from a restful sleep. I get out of bed, eat breakfast, and check emails with a warm cup of coffee in hand. I then prepare for my workday, which includes proudly dressing in my City Year uniform.
7:20AM—I leave my apartment and drive to Roosevelt Middle School of the Arts. I usually try to arrive 5-10 minutes before First Circle begins.
7:45AM—First Circle begins. Everyone shares “Joys, Ripples, or Appreciations,” makes sure our uniforms are looking excellent, and hears daily announcements. Sometimes, our Team Leader will also set an “Intention” for the day or week. Starting each morning with my team sets a positive tone for my entire day. Regardless of my mood before First Circle, I always leave with a smile on my face.
8:00AM—Almost every morning, Roosevelt’s staff holds a meeting which we attend with our partner teachers. The meetings have ranged in topics from behavior initiatives and upcoming student incentives to overall school climate.
8:25AM—My team heads outside to greets students as they enter school. We call this power greeting and we sing songs, dance, give high-fives, and welcome our students back to school. For the first few weeks, students were not very receptive to our silly songs and dancing, but we now have a few students who stop to sing with us! I look forward to even more students joining us as the year progresses.
8:40AM—The school bell signals an official start to the school day! Now, I go up to my classroom where my homeroom students are often already eating their provided breakfasts. I really enjoy homeroom time because I get a chance to socialize with my students, asking them how their night was or how their sporting/extracurricular event turned out.
9:00AM—My students have what the school calls “FAVE” classes during first period. At Roosevelt, an arts school, these classes are fine arts-oriented. I, however, have an hour of work time, along with my other teammates in sixth-grade classrooms. I usually spend this time preparing session materials, writing next week’s sessions, working on Roosevelt’s monthly newsletter, or making attendance phone calls home to parents.
10:00AM—My partner teacher’s first Social Studies class begins. As a traditional middle school, Roosevelt’s students switch classes every period, so my partner teacher is the sole Social Studies teacher for the sixth grade. On Mondays and Thursdays, I provide whole-class support during this time. If my teacher is lecturing, I model proper classroom behavior, listening and following along. If the students are working in small groups, I try to circulate and answer questions or help any students who might be struggling. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I pull out two students for the second half of class and for an ELA intervention session. I love getting the chance to provide one-on-one support to these students. I can already tell that they will benefit from it!
10:57AM—Lunch time! I typically go down to the dining hall and eat with my students (they even save me a seat, now). Lunch is perhaps one of my favorite periods because, similar to homeroom, I get to casually socialize with my students; they have such vibrant and wonderful personalities.
12:10PM—Fourth period Social Studies begins. Whole-class support looks similar to second period, but on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I run intervention sessions with four students from this class. I have a total of 10 ELA focus list students, so I pull out between two and four from each class.
1:07PM—I have another work period while my students are in their second “FAVE” classes.
2:04PM—Sixth period Social Studies begins. When I pull out students for intervention time, I teach ELA strategies with Social Studies material. Recently, I have been bringing in articles about the upcoming presidential election for students to write about or summarize. It has been so awesome to hear my students engaging in conversations about what is going on in the world around them. I always love hearing their thoughts and opinions!
3:01PM—Seventh period Social Studies begins.
4:00PM—Afterschool starts! We run afterschool on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we offer homework help for the first 30 minutes and enrichment activities for the last 30 minutes. Enrichment activities (as of now) include Boys and Girls Leadership groups, a Creative Writing Club, and an Arts and Crafts Club, which I lead with a fellow teammate. On Thursdays, we teach the School Beats (now called Roosevelt Records) curriculum. Students will learn to produce and record music, write lyrics, design a CD cover, and market their music.
5:00PM—Afterschool ends, we bring students down to their busses and clean up the afterschool space.
5:30PM—Final Circle begins. We end the day just as it started, except we are now able to reflect on a full day of service. Days can be long and challenging, but this job is so fulfilling; it is all worth it.
5:45PM—Everyone goes home for the night!