Final Goodbye…

Today is not the final goodbye, but tomorrow will be. Well, I don’t like telling people goodbye, so I’ll just say “see you later.”

See you later, Ivan, the intellect!

See you later, Maya, the comedian!

See you later, Rodney, the “hungry man basketball player!”

See you later, Taylor, the fashionista!

See you later, Jasmyne, our song bird!

See you later, Kalyn, the doctor!

I can’t wait til tomorrow for them to showcase their beautiful life maps!

I think they benefited a lot from the program. One young lady even said she is going to sign-up for it next year!

Teaching at Midtown Academy was my favorite part of the trip. Just being able to be a leader and an example for the children is great. Being able to play “expert” on college and be a young vibrant person to them, was also a joy. I made them laugh and I was able to relate the students and their urban living lifestyle. Honestly, I have been a little uncomfortable here but have been maintaining my positive and being strong. Teaching the students has made everyday special! I have never been on a class trip, and I thank you for the opportunity. I bonded a lot with my classmates. I thought I was not going to be closer to anyone at all; just the regular hi and bye.

All in all, I enjoyed my trip! It was more than a service-learning experience….it was just a necessary experience for both ME and the children! It did not feel like I was volunteering at all. It did not feel like I was even doing this for a grade. It felt natural. It felt like I belonged. It felt like I was needed, and they were needed as well!

It was great!

See you later, Midtown Academy!

Future Me

Today’s theme/focus for our Midtown Academy children was “Where are you going?” We started out by asking the students where they saw themselves in 5, 10, and 15 years. I did this assignment too, and was surprised to see where I hope I would be in those years, and how old I am going to be! I also was able to realize that I have a lot of things I just simply couldn’t get all down on the board. It was interesting to see what the students wanted to do most importantly, and how everything was centered around helping others and their community. Another thing that was done today was the “Networking/Job” fair. I taught them the importance of networking. I told them that most times “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” They understood that, so I hope they are more open minded to meeting new people whether it be a nerd, a not so well kept person, or the greatest entrepreneur. We also held a job fair, and I taught them how to make business cards. That was fun! I believe they really took well to the networking, job fair. We used skills from the interviews we did to help them in successfully networking at the fair; skills like a good handshake, eye contact, not being fidgety, etc.

Tomorrow we make our life maps incorporating all three themes we’ve explored so far: Who are you? , Where are you from?, Where are you going?. All those questions make up a person’s life! LIFE MAPS!

Newbie to the Public School Scene

Yup! Today was my first time visiting a public high school school during school hours. It was quite interesting and definitely different from my educational background. A lot of the stereotypes that people associate with the public high schools definitely proved to be true.

When we arrived to the school, the principal was very welcoming and excited that we were there! We went to a classroom where we were able to ask him questions about the application process and about the school. What was interesting that he mentioned was that compared to the other public high schools, theirs require the lowest minimum, which can explain the work ethic of some of the students I saw today. Unfortunately, the teachers did not know we were coming, and I experienced some unwelcoming tones and facial expressions. My host student was shy, but I think we bonded quite nicely because we both shared similar interests in business and cosmetology. I wish I would have been able to stay longer to go with my host student to her cosmetology class! *sigh*
My host student’s day, which became my day:

1st Period: Algebra 2: The teacher was not very welcoming and had a certain negative attitude about why I was there. I was able to ignore it and not react and just do what I really came to do. The teacher was an African American lady who looked as though she was in her late 40s-early 50s. All she did was problems on the board, and gave a worksheet, that they did in class. There was no homework given. There was only one young lady in the class who just was not interested at all, but for the most part, the children answered her questions, but in a tone to just get it over with.

2nd Period: English: They were working on Allusions based on a Zora Neale Hurston book. I liked that the activities and books they were reading and around the room were from African American authors. This is good when it comes to relating to the children. The girls were very talkative in this one class, and there was also one young lady who would just blurt out the answer to everything without giving others a chance. At one point, I could tell some would not even try because they knew she would answer. The students would also curse in class, and I really was taken-aback by that!The teacher was an African American female who probably was in her late 20s-early 30s. She never corrected the kids when they would use derogatory terms.

3rd Period: History: Taught by a white male, he was very helpful, and I think that played a part in the students liking him. He didn’t necessarily give them the answer, but he made sure they understood why the answer was what it was.

A few things I noticed across the board: There was no urgency from the students to get to class. They showed up late, and there were no consequences on the spot or acknowledgement of there arrival time. Teachers could have at least said something after class or something! Another thing I noticed was that cell phone use was an extreme issue! Technology is really going to ruin the public school education of children. They already don’t want to be there, and cell phones don’t help because their attention is strictly on the phone. One girl was on Instagram THE WHOLE CLASS! For a 1 hour straight! High schools can’t really use Midtown Academy’s approach of taking phones at the beginning of the day just because high schoolers need to learn how to be more responsible, but there has to be a better way! Another thing I noticed was that pregnancy was almost like a normalcy. Some of my classmates told me that students even asked them if they had kids. I saw one pregnant girl, and one other girl was screaming in the hallway about how she hates needles because she was poked with them so many times during her pregnancy. I also noticed and was told that homework was rarely given. They pretty much do all work in the classroom.

I can go on and on about the negatives of my visit. All in all, I enjoyed myself! It was new to me being that I grew up in private, Catholic schools my WHOLE life! I’m even in a private school now! I really enjoyed my student host. She went to a private school before attending the high school which explained to me why her work ethic was really good, and how conservative she was.

First Day…One Love…

Driving to the school, I didn’t really know what to expect.I wondered if we were going to have aggressive, loud, disobedient children; or if we they were given a prep talk before this week, and told to behave. Something must have happened because the children were more behaved than expected.

I loved how the children respected each other when one was speaking.

I loved how they raised they’re hand and waited to be called on.

I loved that they did their work in complete silence. (It was so quiet when they worked that I had to ask if they were willing to talk and work at the same time. They said they didn’t mind, and I was able to just get to know about why they signed up for the program, and what their school is like.)

I loved how honest my kids were!

I loved how engaged they were and how they made sure to pay attention.

I loved their humor.

I loved getting to know them based on our them of “who are you?” for today’s lesson.

I loved the questioning.

I loved talking to them on a more personal and informal level.

I loved how I was able to connect with a lot of them because of the TV shows they watched, and things they were in to career wise.

Ivan, Maya, Rodney, Jasmyne, Kalyn, Taylor…One Love!

I’m excited to see them tomorrow. I’m excited to get to know them more and to fill them up with lessons from my teachings, and my experience.

‘Twas the Night Before Baltimore

Hi!

It's Me! :)  My name is Charrisha Watkins and I am a senior at Gettysburg College completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Organization and Management Studies. My short term goal is to graduate. I already have a job aligned for after graduation at AT&T in Atlanta, where I want to eventually start my life. I will be doing business to business sales. I do not have much experience in the field and never grew up saw myself in sales, but am super excited about this new opportunity. My long term goal is to own a daycare center and a spa for children.

Honestly, before starting the class and getting the email that the Baltimore trip was mandatory, I was actually a little upset because I would have been in New Orleans on an immersion project or in Hilton Head with my tennis team. As time progressed and I started to learn more about urban education, I started to accept my calling for the trip. I will make the best of it, and will be sure to connect it to my life. Not only will I be an important asset to the trip, but the trip will be an asset to me and my life. I am excited to help children start thinking about their long-term goals so far as college and success is concerned. I hope that on these five days, I will serve as an example of a successful young lady, and an example of growth despite the struggles and situations along the way. I vow to be honest with these children and give them all that I have to offer. I hope they are open to accepting Gettysburg College into their school and will approach this College and Career Institute with open minds and hearts.