I’m often asked what exactly it is I’m doing in Boston. So this will serve as an opportunity to share what it is I’m actually doing. So this is what I’m doing:
I work for Citizen Schools, an education non-profit that partners with middle schools to extend the learning day. Since its inception in 1995, Citizen Schools has succeeded in bringing relevant learning experiences to middle-school students in low-income neighborhoods. Through a model that bridges academic support, hands-on learning experiences taught by expert volunteers, and college and career preparation, Citizen Schools is committed to closing the achievement gap in 20 cities across seven states.
My mornings are spent working downtown, where I have a lovely view of the Federal Reserve, South Station, and a 5 story-tall old-fashioned milk bottle. The first half of my day is spent working for our Marketing Department. It’s been a great experience learning the intricacies of how non-profits work and learning new skills.
My afternoons and the most exciting part of my day, is spent at the Washington Irving Middle School in beautiful Roslindale, Massachusetts. There I have a team of seventh graders, (our team name is UConn, Go Huskies!), who I spend most of my week with. I’ve really enjoyed the chance to be in the classroom, to help with homework, teach fractions, and sharing the importance of preparing for college. It’s a lot harder, and often more challenging then I could have ever envisioned. Middle school students are a capricious breed, a bright ball of energy one minute, and a bundle of raging emotions the next. That aside, I can’t imagine a more encouraging and heartening experience then to walk down a hallway and have a dozen students say hello to you, the satisfaction of seeing decimal place values click for a student, or have a parent share how their son or daughter is turning things around in school.
I’ve learned a lot during the past six months. I’ve taught an apprenticeship on track, and helped support an Acapella apprenticeship. I’ve learned that students do look to their teachers for support, encouragement, and affirmation. I hope this helps fill in you in. If you are interested in helping Citizen Schools and its mission please feel free to donate.