Friday, September 4, 2009

A New School Year


I'm excited to join a local Catholic high school in their new school year! After a belated start last spring and weeks of e-mail tag this summer, I finally made my way into a meeting with the HR fellow to discuss the possible needs of the school and if my gifts would fit. My focused work with Freshmen and foundations level students caught his interest quite quickly, as did my past as a debate coach. He needed to discuss with the English department head, but I think I have a 'job' assisting remedial students.

I did express that I would like to establish two set days to volunteer (flexible if needed) and those could be in blocks of time. I gave the mornings/afternoons that I would be available and suggested that the teachers/department folk could choose which two would work best for them. If I could get these in place, I could plan the observations at other schools in the city as a part of my course requirements.

The school is not far from my current house, but is moved just far enough that the population of the neighborhood and school is very different from my suburb. The student population is almost all African American with a few Hispanic and even fewer Caucasian students. Most have experienced a lot of change in their lives, and some are near or at the poverty line. However, the city has a voucher or choice program that allows students to choose private or charter schools and the state pays the tuition. A good part of our discussion was about the similarities and differences I might experience with the students, and I openly admit I have had very limited exposure to urban youth. So, I might be tutoring them in composition or comprehension, but they will be teaching me quite a bit about life.

I can't wait!

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