Hello! I’m Abbey and I serve at City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley. I am a mid-year corps member so I came to California in early January. I had two weeks of training with one other mid-year at the office, and then started going to my elementary school full time after that. My day breaks down into a couple different parts. Team circle starts at 7:45 am, and by 8:30 am everything, from computers to chairs, needs to be set up for collaboration. I lead a room of twenty to thirty students while they complete an assignment for their teacher, and after twenty five minutes they rotate. That gets done at 10 am. I have one hour to prep for my tutor students. At 11 am I get my two fifth graders, and at 11:25 am I get my three fourth graders. At 12 pm I have recess duty, and then I can have lunch. After lunch, my time consists of team meetings and preparation for the after school program. I co-teach the writing portion of the literacy block. That starts at 3:05 pm, after my students have had a snack. The day ends at 6:15 pm with a final team circle where we debrief the day. In total, that makes ten and a half hours of service each day.
While the days are long, they are worth it. I’ve had a student cry because she was worried about joining our after school program and being away from her mom. She couldn’t calm down for the longest time. I talked to her about what I thought of the after school program and how many good things could happen if she joined and how she would be helping her mom out. I had her stay with me for the rest of that day, and then the next day checked in with her about 6 times. By the end of the second day she was fine, and she and I have had a special friendship ever since.
There’s also fantastic moments in tutoring where I’ve had students say, “Oh, I get it!” or where they’ve reached a personal goal with their literacy fluency and comprehension that they thought they’d never reach. I’ve had kids in my literacy block complain about how boring they found my class, but two days later make me a card telling me I was the best City Year member ever.
Service every school day is HARD. Don’t let anyone say it will be a breeze. But believe them, and believe me, when I say it’s possible to get through it, and that the kids make the hard times worth it. They make me believe I can do anything.
-Abbey Bailey, Corps Member, NVIDIA/Synopsys Team at A.J. Dorsa Elementary School