Today was my 2nd day at Nazareth Elementary School. Nazareth is a Catholic school in the city of Rochester. Although the school is Catholic, only 30% of students are actually Catholic. I was also surprised to find out that there are only 180 students total from pre-k to 6th grade. The diversity is also different from what I experienced in my elementary school in rural Minnesota. Whites are easily the minority at the school in Rochester. Additionally, there is a large population of students from the school that live in poverty. I am volunteering in a 4th grade classroom. I assist by correcting papers and other various needs the teacher may need me for. However, the main chunk of my time is spent helping with classroom management. These children are quite the chatty bunch, and every chance the get, they are talking with friends. Although these kids are chatty and test my patience, I see the uniqueness in each student. I saw one student tear through a book and then dance her heart out during dance class. I saw one student who hates math, but in music class belted out the lyrics to a song about kindness. I see each student’s unique talents visible just after two days in class.
One of my favorite times of the day is during the after school care program. I spend about an hour and a half playing with 3-7 year olds. One was my favorite memories was with two first graders. My service partner, Megan V., was joking with these girls and told them that I dabbed 100 times a day, even while brushing my teeth. They were amazed and then to please me, they picked up different animals that they were playing with and made them dab. They bent the leg of the donkey and wing of the owl and made them dab along with every other animal on the farm.
In each one of the students I come across I see a unique child of God who is worthy of love and attention. These students are challenging my perspective on teaching. Every time I see a child in suffering or in trouble in school, I think to myself, “How would I do this differently?” Each scenario would require something extra from me, extra time after school, or even during school. I might need to prepare extra assignments, or plan more interactive lessons with motion and creativity. The children I am meeting on this trip are reminding me that teaching, by no means with be easy, but it will be rewarding. I am learning that as a teacher, I desire to make every day positive and empower my students to be better than best. I want to be an extraordinary teacher, not ordinary. These students remind me of why I want to become a teacher, and make me more excited to become one.