By Ketsia Masse
AmeriCorps member on the CSX Transportation team serving at Kimball Elementary School
As my AmeriCorps year comes to a close, I can't help but to reflect on just how inspiring, amazing, and humbling my year of service has been. My family and friends constantly ask me what this year has done for me and what I've learned, and I always respond that City Year is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Here are 5 reasons why!
1. My Amazing Students
I've had the honor of serving in a fifth grade math classroom this year. Yet I'd have to say that my fifth graders have arguably taught me just as much as I've taught them. My students have taught me how to be resilient and how to persevere. They've given me another perspective and outlook on life. And more importantly, they continuously motivate me to be a better human being.
2. The Impact I've Had on My Amazing Students
This year has allowed me to do something I've always wanted, and that is to impact a life, a family, a community for the better. Through productive conversations with my students about their behavior in class, about their work ethic, and about their future, I feel like I set them up for success on their new venture to middle school this fall - and beyond.
3. My Amazing Partner Teacher
This year I served in a fifth grade math classroom with a recent two-time City Year DC Alum. Her previous knowledge of City Year enabled us both to have clearly-defined roles within the classroom that maximized the learning and potential of our students, while ensuring that each student was able to receive the attention they so much deserve. The positive energy and "can-do attitude" that we both brought to the classroom everyday continues to keep our students excited to learn.
4. The Abundant Professional Development Opportunities
This year has also given me the opportunity to develop professionally. Between being a part of Physical Training Crew – which leads our monthly Unity Rallies for the entire corps - and speaking about my City Year experience alongside my partner teacher at City Year’s National Investors Summit this past month, I've become more confident in my own public-speaking skills. Additionally, as Program Director for Camp City Year, one of our site's Spring Break initiatives, I've had the opportunity to execute a vision to results, peer manage, and engage over 200 students in a social justice curriculum. Each of these opportunities forced me to get out of my comfort zone and into my challenge zone. I plan to carry the skills and experience I've gained this year even beyond my year of service and into my career.
5. The Motivation to Serve Another Year
My year of service has simply been remarkable in every way- so much that I want to return to City Year to ensure that the next group of AmeriCorps members has just as remarkable a year of service as I did. My desire to keep serving the students of the community I love has motivated me to continue being a leader for my students and for the next Corps. I'm excited for what my second year of service has in store for the students I serve and the community that I hope to continue to impact for the better!