By Danielle Doolittle, AmeriCorps member serving on the Comcast NBCUniversal team with Jeremiah E. Burke High School
Serving in a high school has made me retrace my steps in time as I follow a schedule similar to students, supporting them in classrooms, eating lunch with them, and working with them to complete homework assignments after school. This is a snapshot of my day as an AmeriCorps Member at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester.
5:45 a.m.: Wake-up, brush teeth, make coffee, get dressed.
6:30 a.m.: Grab backpack and head out the door.
6:45-7 a.m.: Arrive at the Burke.
7-7:20 a.m.: Our team preps for the day, making notes, clipping our nametags on, drinking our coffee, talking with the few students who make regular appearances in our team space, and, in the background, we listen to a morning playlist DJ’d by our teammate.
7:20-7:30 a.m.: First Circle. I particularly enjoy this part of the morning because we officially come together as a team and it helps me remember the purpose behind our service despite the challenging days and long hours.
7:30-7:45 a.m.: Morning Greeting! This part looks a little different than it might at an elementary or middle school because we typically don’t sing or chant City Year songs. In a high school setting, we spend our fifteen minutes trying to get high-fives from students and cheering on any teammate who gets a smile and “Good morning” back.
7:50 a.m.: Homeroom begins and I sit in my seat at the back table in Biology. I greet students coming into class, catch them up on notes if they’re late, and work with them to complete assignments.
9:05 a.m.: Biology ends and I navigate my ways through the halls, finding students in my next class and having them walk with me so they aren’t late. By the end of the three minute transition period I find myself sitting at a table with two students in English class.
10:13 a.m.: English ends and I head down to the cafeteria where I get to catch up with some of my teammates for a few minutes until the two students I sit with at lunch get their food and pick me up on their way to a table. This is one of my favorite parts of the day because I get to have conversations with students outside of the classroom setting. I get to enjoy their company and learn more about who they are as young adults.
10:37 a.m.: First lunch ends and I head back up to the team space to grab my lunch. If I’m not helping a student finish math or biology homework, I’m usually joking around with my teammates or chatting with my student who comes in every lunch period.
12:37 p.m.: I head to my last class of the day: a second English class. Despite the rush of energy in the classroom, my teacher and I get to have good conversations with students and have some fun with them while still completing the work for the day.
1:45 p.m.: School ends and our after school homework help begins. Depending on the day, different AmeriCorps members have various roles in the after school space. On Mondays, for example, I spend my afternoon with my Attendance working group partner updating attendance progress bulletin boards or planning for our next initiative. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I am in the after school space helping students with homework or catching up on assignments and on Thursdays I go to the SEI room (an afterschool space for students who are in the Sheltered English Immersion Academy as English is their second language) to support students.
4 p.m.: Our after school program ends, students leave and we have an hour of time with our team to do whatever needs to be done for the day: planning for an event, sharing best practices of supporting students, having social justice conversations, or debriefing our days.
5 p.m.: Final Circle. We bring closure to the day, ready to pick up where we left off the next day.
Go home. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
Make better happen.