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01 October 2008 @ 11:07 pm
Back to school, and adventures with trees.  
So I am about two weeks in at my new site. It's been quite an interesting time, that's for sure.

To be honest, I almost dreaded my first day, and then I was terrified of my second, and then my third... but somewhere along the line, it got better. In fact, I'm enjoying myself, and I'm sticking to a routine and getting myself going in the mornings better than I think I ever have before.

I'm working with kids in kindergarten through second grade. In the mornings, I help the guidance counselor out with a conflict resolution program she runs, then I'm in the two second grade classrooms doing reading and math until around 11:30ish, when I have the pleasure of monitoring first and second grade lunch. That's an adventure in itself. After that, I have a little time to eat my own lunch, and I usually squeeze in my own phone call to JJ before I head to one of the kindergarten classes to help with math centers. Then it's off to one of the first or second grade classrooms for science or social studies, depending on what part of the trimester we're in, and then I go back to kindergarten to round out the school day. Currently, I'm tutoring reading in our after-school program four days a week, but I'll be bringing up my own club ideas with our coordinator soon, so hopefully we'll have a Japanese language club or a "World Traveler" club by the end of November.

The school I work at is awesome. As part of the curriculum, we have two groups of visiting artists at a time working with different grade levels, and every six weeks we have a "Celebration of Learning" where each class in grades K-5 performs for the rest of the school and their families. I was with my kindergarten group for the first performance today. They've been taking a hip-hop class, as have my second graders. (The first graders have been doing aerobics.) I was really blown away -- not that any of them were polished professionals, but the performances were so much fun! One of the second grade classes danced to "Thriller" and it was absolutely priceless. My kindergarten group rounded out the day and wow, were they impressive! How often do you see a bunch of five year olds do a complicated dance routine without freaking out? There were a bunch of soloists in our class, too, and I was surprised by quite a few of them.

The past week has been pretty darn cool, actually. Last Saturday I did a service project with a whole bunch of the KEYS AmeriCorps crew out in Braddock. There were about ten members, five other volunteers, two or three staffers, and the mayor of Braddock (who is an insanely cool guy) and we cleaned a whole ton of old debris and plaster out of a duplex in less than an hour. We were preparing the house so that contractors could come in and take care of some wiring issues. Eventually, Then, we went to plant an orchard right up on Braddock Ave. Yes, I'm serious. We had 40-some fruit trees that we put in the ground. Of course, the fact that we hadn't had serious rain in a long time made that project kind of difficult. We were forging along with shovels and pickaxes trying to get down through the fill (and finding lots of bricks and stones) when the volunteer fire company two buildings down brought their pumper truck up. I can now put "operating a fire hose" in one of the places of honor on the List of Cool Stuff I Have Done. XD It was still majorly difficult, but we did get all of those trees in the ground! I think I've just gotten over the soreness, but it was a good sore feeling. =)

At any rate... things are busy, but fun! I'm packing lunches and walking a lot and finally starting to get tougher with the kids at school and bringing JJ breakfast in bed in the mornings and though I still have some things to sort out and a ways to go with the new routine, life is good. However, it is late, so I think I'm done for now. I hope everyone else is well, warm, and enjoying themselves. =)
輪廻眼 - Degenerate Mammal Punk: Alvisrinnegan on October 2nd, 2008 03:44 am (UTC)
Good luck dooder
Kids can be hard to work with when you first start, they dont respect you at all.

Once you gain their trust though, it is generally pretty awesome to work with kids.
lannaspartaflag on October 3rd, 2008 01:35 am (UTC)
I'm so glad to hear things are going well for you, Pikhay! It's so awesome to see updates from you after so long without hearing much of anything, I can't even tell you about it. :)

(Breakfast in bed, what a sweetheart you are! :) )