In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, City Year sites all across the country are recognizing the hard work and dedication that America’s teachers put forth each and every day. City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley will be featuring a blog post each day this week in which we will thank a teacher or administrator at one of our service partner schools for inspiring and supporting us as we serve.
When I first stepped foot on campus at Mathson last year as a first year corps member with City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley, I was pretty nervous. I did not really have much experience with working with kids outside of reffing soccer games and the occasional babysitting job. How was I going to make a difference in their lives and help them stay in school and excel in the classroom? On that day I observed Molly Wilmoth’s class and it made a world of difference.
Even upon stepping foot into her classroom, I could instantly feel the engagement and excitement of the kids. Looking around the room I noticed photographs of her in college and a large mountain with vocabulary words documenting their “Journey to the Summit.” I didn’t know it then, but this journey was heading towards the end of the school year to the California Standards Tests (CST), which would be a huge challenge for these students who were so far behind other students their age.
But the classroom wasn’t the only place that Molly had an impact on their lives. She was constantly heading extra-curricular activities, coaching basketball and most recently, cross-country. Oftentimes she could be found in her classroom after school with students helping them with their homework assignment or just asking them how their day was. It was completely apparent that the students at this school adored and respected her.
She was a huge help to us as well. As a first year service partner, it was pretty rough for us to get the students on board with what we were trying to do. We were incredibly different from anything that they were used to but Molly welcomed us with open arms. She was always recruiting students for our after school program and was constantly asking us if there was anything she could help us with, which we often took her up on. Whether it was chaperoning a school dance or allowing me to use her classroom for my stand up comedy enrichment, she was always there to support us in any way she could. If it weren’t for her, my time at Mathson would have been that much more difficult.
I will never forget on the day of the CST when I saw her dressed as a hiker heading towards the summit greeting her students as they walked through the door. This visual representation of how much she believed in them reminded me that there are some really amazing teachers out there who truly care about the success of their students. I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to witness the impact she has made on the lives of the students at Mathson and am grateful to call her a friend. While I no longer serve full-time at Mathson, I know that with her as part of their community, these students are in excellent hands.
Thank you Molly!
Megan Baker, Recruitment Project Leader CYSJ