Written By Megan Joralemon, Team Member at San Antonio Elementary
This past Friday marked the official beginning of my City Year in San Jose. I’ve already learned and grown more than I ever imagined I would. That said, the life of a corps member is by no means easy. Our team of ten arrives at 7:45. We circle up, do a quick readiness check, break on some optimistic word or phrase, and then dive into work. Like most jobs, some mornings are busier than others, but what’s great about my City Year team is how comfortable we are with just being together--asking questions, telling stories, throwing out ideas for what our hypothetical team pet would be (a turtle named Hawk The Turtle)--just being us, doing what we love in good company.
Around noon, we head to lunch. One by one, the classes of students pass. The moment they see us, our ELT students erupt with excitement, shouting and waving vigorously. When lunch ends, we cover recess. I spend most of my time chatting with City Year students. They tell me all about themselves and ask me strange questions like if my eyes are naturally blue and how old I am (apparently I look 45). And I can’t help but smile.
As the regular school day draws to a close, we make sure everything is in order for ELT. It all begins at 2:15. We spend a few minutes taking attendance, asking how our students’ days went, and then one by one, we lead them into the cafeteria for snack. Afterwards, the real fun begins. We start with enrichments, something fun and interactive. So far, we’ve seen four continents, learned an array of foreign dances, and traveled back in time to hang out with the dinosaurs!
After enrichment time comes a brain break, usually Just Dance (the kids go crazy for One Direction) before moving on to computers and then homework. This is the time when I really get to see how the students are progressing and how much help they still need.
Once we’re ready, we make our way back to the cafeteria for sign-out. This is perhaps my favorite time of the day because it’s the only time besides recess that I can talk with my students on a more personal. Some days, I’m more relieved than anything to see them go, but it’s amazing how much I miss them after a long weekend.
At about 6:15, our day ends just as it began. Thomas and Charli fill us in on any announcements and then we break. Some days we say things like “Hope on five!” or “Progress on seven!” Other days, it’s more along the lines of “Dinner on one!”. But regardless of how things went, there’s comfort in knowing that the next day, those same ten people will be there, bright and early, ready to serve. Will it get harder? Yes. But as of now, my journey has just begun. And I’m reading to see where my City Year goes.