The definition of “great” is: of an extent, or intensity considerably above the normal or average. Working in an elementary school, some days can be more challenging than others. When I first started serving in a fourth grade English Language Arts classroom, the environment was new to me. I remember the first couple of weeks students would always ask me how to spell a certain word and I would actually have to think about how to spell the words because I was so used to technology doing the work for me. I am not a great speller, but to those fourth grade students, you would think my name was Merriam-Webster.

Every day I serve so my students will know that they are great or have the potential to be great. Most of my fourth grade students have trouble when it comes to things they don’t understand. We would always practice in small groups and one-on-one tutoring, and they still wouldn’t seem to get it right. Most of the times, I would sit my students down and let them know they can do anything they put their minds to. You have to listen and be the friend and role model your students need. They were and are already GREAT, but a helping hand can go a long way in bringing out the greatness in us all.

Sometimes I didn’t think I did a good job on certain aspects of my daily service, but my students always encouraged me and made me think I was GREAT. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generate by love.”

Montrea Signater was an AmeriCorps Member who served on the Lamar Advertising Company Team at Melrose Elementary School during the 2016-2017 schoo year. This fall, she will begin graduate studies at Southern University and A&M College.

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