2015-01-05

By Mary DuBard, AmeriCorps member, Comcast NBC Universal Team, 
Serving at Bakersville Elementary School

I wake up to my alarm at 6:45 a.m. and spend the next 35 minutes eating breakfast, packing my City Year backpack, and getting dressed in my uniform. At 7:20 a.m., my roommate (also a City Year corps member) and I go downstairs to drive to the parking lot where all corps members meet Monday-Thursday mornings. Since it’s Thursday, instead of circling as a whole corps we divide up into our school teams for Readiness Check at exactly 7:30 a.m. My team leader gives any announcements she has, and we disperse to drive to our elementary school.

As soon as we arrive at 7:40 a.m., we all go straight upstairs to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade hallway. I put my lunch in the teacher’s lounge before heading to my 5th grade classroom. When I arrive to my classroom, my teacher is trying to decide whether she has time to switch some desks around, and if so, how to handle every single kid’s preferences. Bobby* has to sit alone because he can’t do his work with even the slightest bit of distraction. Sally* doesn’t want to sit next to Peter*, but she’s the only person Peter* can sit next to and still do his work. A simple seating chart can quickly turn into a complicated logic puzzle. My teacher throws up her hands in the air, says she’ll work on it after school today, and starts writing the “Morning Message.” As she works, I go around the room and take all of the chairs off the desks, put morning work out for every student, and sharpen all the broken pencils. Before I know it the clock says 8:05 a.m. and the City Year corps member in the adjoining 5th grade classroom is poking his head in, asking if I’m ready to go down to help with morning drop-off.

We head downstairs to the all-purpose cafeteria/gym/auditorium where students enter school in the morning. We don’t power greet at my school, so instead we split up other morning duties. Two of us stand by the door greeting students, two are in the cafeteria to greet and guide students to class, and two help the kindergarteners line up and walk them to class. Today I’m on kindergarten duty, so I spend the next 30 minutes jumping around, singing silly songs, and basically making sure the younger students are excited about school. As my fifth graders walk by to class, I greet them with a smile. One of my attendance students is the first student from my class to come in, and we celebrate with a high five! Finally, when I walk back from taking the kindergarteners to their classes, the cafeteria is empty and I know it’s time to head upstairs. At 8:35 a.m. I go back up to my classroom and settle in for the next nine hours of service.

*Name and details changed to protect student privacy.

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