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The Power of Change

I believe in the power of change. Yes, change can be difficult and a huge step, but I believe it’s all worth it. Starting City Year in August 2018, I thought to myself of the many adventures I would have with my team, the school staff and the students. I felt kind of blinded because of all the hype from City Year staff and never thought I would have any struggles with anything. I just thought I would hop on the happy train and help students out. Little did I know that a cotton candy hurricane was on my way.

I remember being put into my 3rd grade classes on the first day. I saw many of the students smiling and being so sweet to me. I was excited and I couldn’t wait to start helping and working with them all. You know that saying, “Be careful what you wish for”? Well I received that wish fast, as one of the students got up and ran out of the class. I didn’t go after this student right away but just observed this student and all the other ones. Many times, I would find myself chasing this student down the hall so he wouldn’t walk into another class and start yelling. I came to find that this student would be on my focus list that year. My biggest concern was how I was going to find a way to work with a student who kept running away from me. This was becoming a workout for me both mentally and physically.

After a while of getting to know the 3rd graders, I heard talk among them that Fortnite was a popular game and that everyone was playing this. So, I hopped on it and used this to my advantage. One day, as this student flew faster than Sonic, down the hallway, I shouted, “So what’s your level in Fortnite? Or do you not play?” He stopped in his tracks and made his way back to me. I was so thankful that Fortnite could be the bridge between me and this student. We slowly started to connect and soon became high five buddies. Yes, throughout his 3rd grade year, he hit hard bumps. He finally opened up to me about the struggles he had at home and the frustrations he would get when he didn’t understand his work. I would always encourage him to never give up and to keep going in all he did because he was a smart and capable student. As 3rd grade came to a close, many of the staff would see his change, but this was a change in process.

I was really excited to return for the 2019-2020 school year and found out that I got to work with the same students from last year.  Long story short, I got to work with the runner again. He has improved so much from the beginning of 3rd grade. I don’t hear his name on the walkie talkies or on the intercom like I would hear all the time last year. Yes, we have hit a few bumps in the road but he has turned around for the best. Some say I have helped him turn around but I know it was everyone in City Year that made an impact on him.  Change is difficult and change is a huge step but I know that helping students make better choices is so rewarding.

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