A Day in the Life, Inspired by Students

Aside

Growing up in Oregon, I had never heard of City Year. At the University of Oregon, being the eager freshman I was, I talked to a career counselor who mentioned City Year as a potential opportunity to take during a year off from school. I applied to where most-needed before the first application deadline, giddy with excitement. I signed up to serve because I knew that I had a lot to learn and hopefully a lot to offer. Now I serve because the students that I work with inspire me. They motivate me, they ground me, they challenge me, they may frustrate me, but without a doubt they make me smile and make me laugh. All of this fun starts during 1st period, where I tutor the first few of 8 students that I will spend individualized intervention sessions with throughout the school day. One of the students that I tutor in literacy is Jaylin.

Written by Laree Foster, corps member on the Clyde Fischer San Francisco 49ers Foundation Team

Written by Laree Foster, corps member on the Clyde Fischer San Francisco 49ers Foundation Team

When I met Jaylin, her attitude was polarized as either spunky or defeated. She is so clearly a bright girl, but when challenged I saw her shut down, a quality I recognized in myself. As months passed as her Extended Learning Time (ELT) Bridge leader, I began to gain her trust. Enough trust to learn of her broken family dynamics and her belief that her teacher does not believe in her. All that I could do was encourage her to try her best. Her best began to be better, and now her confidence is higher than ever. Now she is proud of her schoolwork and she has exceeded the 6th grade benchmark in fluency and reading comprehension, but what I am most proud about is how she is no longer stifled by reading a big word or solving a long math problem. I know that she can do these things without help. And most importantly, she knows that she can, too.

When I am not tutoring, I get to break up the day by playing football with kids during lunch, assisting with student council meetings, or leading Reader’s Theater during a special education class, before heading off to Room 55 where I meet my BRIDGE class promptly at 2:45. Up until this point in the year, I have led two literacy blocks during ELT each day but I am in the process of transitioning into Co-Behavior Coordinator where I will work with students who exhibit anti-social behavior or have more intense social and emotional needs. After my year of service ends, I will be a senior studying psychology and special education. I hope to build upon my experiences with education, to keep them in my mind as I one day hope to become a school psychologist, where I will meet many Jaylin’s, Fabian’s, Jesus’s, Jonathan’s and Angela’s again.

Taking a Complaint-Free Moment

Gallery

This gallery contains 5 photos.

I’m no stranger to complaints. I field a lot of them in my position as a 6th grade literacy tutor and Extended Learning Time facilitator at Clyde L. Fischer Middle School. This week, I decided to reverse the tables. I asked … Continue reading

Thankful Thursday: San Jose Sharks

–Written by Kevin Hoang, corps member at Fischer Middle School

Students excited to cheer on the Sharks

Students excited to cheer on the Sharks

On Tuesday, November 5, the Fischer Saints had a great opportunity to share in some San Jose spirit by attending the San Jose Sharks game. Even though I’ve lived in the Bay Area my whole life, I’ve never had the chance to see a Sharks game so it was special for me to share my first experience with my students.

Students began arriving around 7pm to get ready for the game, and we quickly funneled inside to grab our seats.  Armed with some delicious game food and excitement, we arrived just in time to see the puck dropped for the first period.

View from the City Year seats.

View from the City Year seats.

Throughout the game, students watched intently as the puck flew across the ice and cheered loudly whenever the Sharks scored. When the Sharks made their second goal of the game, students erupted in cheers and high-fived other members in the crowd, really showing how much spirit our Fischer Saints have! As we left the game, the students talked about how much they enjoyed the game and how they couldn’t wait to go to another one. We all had an amazing time and walked away even bigger Sharks fans! A huge thank you to the San Jose Sharks Foundation for this amazing opportunity.

City Year group enjoying the game!

City Year group enjoying the game!

Corps member Kevin Hoang enjoying his first Sharks game!

Corps member Kevin Hoang enjoying his first Sharks game!

Corps member Isabella Fante enjoying the game with her students

Corps member Isabella Fante enjoying the game with her students

City Year Through The Eyes of A Student: An Interview With Second Grader, Eugene

Aside

By Jenna Morris, Corps Member 

Eugene plays at recess with corps member Jenna Morris

Eugene plays at recess with corps member Jenna Morris

If you ask any City Year corps member what they most like about serving at City Year, almost everyone will say “the kids.” As a corps member, I’ve had the privilege to get to know Eugene, a second grader who is in our Extended Learning Time after-school program. Eugene enjoys playing outside, eating strawberry ice cream, doing experiments, and is a member of our football club where he enjoys helping Ms. Sharmaine and Ms. Nicole. Last week I interviewed Eugene to get to know him better and learn about how City Year is impacting his life.

 

JENNA: What is your favorite thing about City Year?
EUGENE: They like to play with me and they help me. I like to play tag and Ms. and Mr. Fox.

JENNA: What have you learned so far in City Year?
EUGENE: I learned to be a good person. I am learning to not bully. I learned how to make a team and make friends.

JENNA: Who is someone you admire and why?
EUGENE: My family because they buy me costumes for Halloween. They help me to learn Spanish and Vietnamese. I was born in Vietnam. I have friends in Vietnam that I look up to. I look up to my Mom who lives in Texas and my grandpa who lives in San Jose.

JENNA: If you could be a food, what food would you be and why?
EUGENE: Strawberry ice cream because I like strawberry ice cream.

JENNA: If you could be an animal, what animal would you be and why?
EUGENE: Dragon because my favorite animal is dragons because they breathe fire and have wings.

JENNA: Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
EUGENE: I make science projects. I made a volcano and it exploded. Then I cleaned up my mess so my grandma took me to Chuck E Cheese.

JENNA: What do you want to be when you grow up? Why?
EUGENE: I want to be a worker for Target. I want to make things for the children to play with and make clothes for them to wear at school and home.

I really enjoyed interviewing Eugene and getting to know him better. It’s so great to hear that the work we are doing matters and that the students are enjoying themselves, learning, and growing.

Eugene plays with his ELT classmates.

Eugene plays with his ELT classmates.

Wordless Wednesday: Chavez Garden

Chavez Garden

Joey spent 18 weeks working with students in his school gardening club. What once was an unused, weed-filled space is now a sprawling oasis! Students have planted marigolds, pansies, daisies, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkins, kidney beans, radishes and spearmint. The students are incredible proud and dedicated to keeping their new space bountiful!

-Joey Gill, Corps Member, Cisco Team at Cesar Chavez Elementary School 

Life Through the Eyes of a Second-Grader

Before I left for holiday break I anticipated sitting in front of a warm fire with my younger sister and brother, my mom, dad and our goofy dog. I looked forward to watching some old episodes of West Wing together, laughing at my brother’s silly comments, and then heading off to bed. I would treasure a warm house with my beautiful family, being home for the holidays, and resting my body and spirit.

As a City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley Corps Member on the Cisco Team at Cesar Chavez Elementary School, I work with second, third and fourth graders each day to help improve their reading. I have 14 students on my tutoring focus list, and teach two literacy classes during our After School Program. However, through all of the hard work that I have done and lessons that I have learned, I have been most amazed by what my youngest students, the second graders, have taught me.

To a second grader, the most important bond that you could make is over tag or tether-ball. To a second-grader, your best friends are the ones that play with you at recess every day, not the ones who are ‘cool’. To a second grader, asking for help on your homework is not embarrassing, but necessary, helpful and even fun. You show a second-grader that you care by letting them color as part of your lesson. You show a second-grader that you care by quizzing them on their spelling words. You show a second-grader that you care by talking to them calmly rather than yelling when they get out of their seat for the sixth time to ask you a question. Over the past few months, these youngsters have taught me that so much of life’s pleasures are simple, we just have to be present to notice and appreciate them.

As a City Year San Jose corps member, I am blessed every day in ways that I could never have imagined prior to coming to the West Coast. Our work is hard and it will never end, but I am blessed to spend each day with students that remind me to step back and enjoy the simpler details of life. My wall is now covered in drawings from my second graders and my daily exercise is playing tag with 7 year olds.

Over the next few weeks, I hope that you too can take a step back to ask yourself what makes each day worthwhile, and whom to give an extra hug and “I love you”.

Maybe, if you’re lucky, you will be able to see life through the eyes of a second-grader.

-Meg Hassey, Corps Member CYSJ

Corps Member Spotlight: Jakob Rosenberg

Here is the first of a new City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley series, “Corps Member Spotlight.” First year corps member Jakob Rosenberg shares his City Year experience with you from why he serves to bad haircuts to his favorite parts of the school day.

Name: Jakob Rosenberg

Bio: I’m 22 years old from good ol’ Austin, Texas and I graduated with a BBA in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University. Whoop!

Why I Serve: I chose to serve this year with City Year because I wanted to give back for everything that I have been fortunate enough to receive. I love working with kids and when I heard about City Year through an email and researched it online, I instantly knew that I wanted to serve as a corps member. I really want my students to realize that they can do amazing things with their lives and to have them believe in themselves.

A Day In the Life of Jakob:

Jakob leading the math block of City Year’s Extended Learning Time program.

Jakob leading the math block of City Year’s Extended Learning Time program.

7:00am: Roll out of bed and carpool with my fellow corps members to Fischer Middle School.
7:45am: Circle with my unbelievably amazing, strong 11 member team, the JPMorgan Chase & Co. team, serving at Clyde Fischer Middle School.
8:15am: Morning greet the students as they arrive on campus
8:30am: Tutor 6th grade students in math and prep for the Extended Learning Time Program (ELT) – City Year’s after school program that extends the learning day for the entire 6th grade population at Fischer.
10:15am: Meet with my attendance student during brunch, having a snack, and chatting about how he’s doing overall
10:25am: Continue to tutor 6th graders in math
11:30am: Support lunch recess for 6th graders. Monitor as well as participate in games and have conversations with the students
12:15pm: Lunchtime!
1:00pm: Continue to tutor 6th graders in math
2:00pm: I am the attendance coordinator for Fischer, so I check students’ attendance for the day and email the corps members whose students were absent or tardy that day.
2:45pm: ELT begins with a BRIDGE block that promotes more fun and team building. During the BRIDGE block, we help students bridge the social and academic gap from the transition from 5th grade to 6th grade.
3:00pm: I teach a math block to 6th grade students that acts as a more interactive review of the material from their school day
3:45pm: Snack and structured games which allow the students some down time to just be kids.
5:00pm: The students who walk home due to the early time of sunset, sign out, the other students go to an enrichment block. I then utilize this time to prep for tutoring and ELT by writing lesson plans, coming up with activities, and getting things together for the next day.
6:15pm: Check attendance sheets and closing circle

Favorite Part of the School Day: Getting to debrief and hear how the day went for my BRIDGE students at the end of the day. It’s great to see how excited some of them can be to share all about their day.

Favorite Student Quote:The day after a haircut, “Mr. Rosenberg, you really let yourself go…” It really wasn’t that bad!