Thursday, February 4, 2016

"Ms., I Don't Want Free Time. I Want To Read" - Day One of Service Learning in a K-8 School.

This semester I inherited a 2nd service learning course and I'm spending 3 hours a week in a K-8 school. The location is near a large immigrant population with a vast majority of kids speaking English as a second language. My 22 students are reading philosophies of education and getting a hands-on experience with one-on-one work with adolescents. I never know what I will find doing such innovative teaching, but today - day one in the school - I realized, "this is the way all courses should be.

The quote that moved several teachers and me.
Ms. I don't want free time. I want to read.
The Fairfield University students were paired with teachers and in this particular class 8 English majors were given a task to work with a student as they wrestled with a Frederick Douglas text. The teacher in the room and I discussed her research interests while the partners did their thing (it was so quiet, that we forgot they were in there with us).

As the time came to an end, a teacher announced the students could take a break and this one young man said those words. The teacher in the room just shook her head. "It's not that I'm not believing this," she said. "I've just never seen this. We paired the most reluctant readers with your students and they typically resist all reading activities. Look at all of's 100% on task."

The school, led by a Fairfield University alumni, welcomed us with open arms as did the principal. In fact, he brought coffee, cookies, grapes, and water for the undergraduate students. Amazing.

It's work like this that makes me love my job.

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