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By Ellen Hughes, City Year Tulsa Senior AmeriCorps Member

When you enter Room 110 of our school’s freshman academy, be prepared for the dynamic duo, AmeriCorps member Mr. Andrew and his partner teacher Ms. Reid, to bring the “j-factor” (Noun: an injection of joy) to English class.  

What makes this partnership unique? True, Mr. Andrew and Ms. Reid are both Tulsa transplants, choosing to relocate from Utah and Ohio to share their passion for learning and serving Tulsa’s students. But, it’s the fact that Ms. Reid served in Room 110 just one year prior as a City Year AmeriCorps member that gives her the intimate understanding of the benefits in having a City Year in her classroom.

Ms. Reid is one of several City Year Tulsa alumni that have choosen to continue working in Tulsa Public Schools, inspired by their service year to serving students, and pursue teacher training and certification.

“I won’t even try to lie, going from being the corps member in the classroom to having a City Year in my classroom is one of the strangest feelings I’ve ever felt, but I’m so grateful to have a strong partner and I know that I wouldn’t be having the successes with my students without him,” say Ms. Reid. “My CY experience didn’t prepare me to teach, but it taught me what it meant to serve others for the right reasons and I haven’t stopped serving since.”

For Andrew, having a City Year alumna for a partner teacher is particularly impactful, emphasizing a key City Year value he knows they both share: “Students First, Collaboration Always.”

“She knows, as someone who has never worked in a school before last year, how overwhelming the work can be. We talk after just about every class period and are in dialogue with each other and our students every day.”

Andrew came to City Year with a passion for working with youth and aspirations to become an educator. In partnering with Ms. Reid, he notes that “it reinforces my knowledge that many people who find CY do find themselves working within the field of education after their year of service. CY demands growth in varying capacities from its corps members. The lessons learned about self and one’s professional potential in service are invaluable. It’s reassuring to know that if I choose to, my year of service as an ACM will help me transition to being a teacher.”

To current (and future!) AmeriCorps members, Ms. Reid has some words of advice: “The best advice I can offer to anyone, especially ACMs, is to always do it for the right reason. Serving others isn’t about you. It’s isn’t about your career, it’s not about your comfort, it’s not about your desire for adventure, and it’s not about killing a year of your life before you move on to the next thing. Serving wasn’t about me, and teaching isn’t about me. It’s about my students. It always has been and always will be.”

Interested in serving students for a year or a whole career? The next application date is January 25th, 2019! Meanwhile, Ms. Reid and Mr. Andrew will continue to #makebetterhappen in their freshman English class.  

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