by Bobby Church, AmeriCorps member serving on the Advent International team with Condon K-7 School 

“We live to serve another day,” says my teammate Aysia as we had down the hallway to our 3rd-grade classroom. “And that’s a beautiful thing,” I respond, along with a special handshake we’ve come up with. We then enter our classroom full of 3rd-graders doing morning work and getting ready to work together to accomplish any task that may come up in our classroom. It’s a simple ritual to get ourselves hyped for another day of service in our classroom - and also to remind each other that we have each other’s backs in the classroom. It’s small moments such as these - or large ones such as managing a City Year “AttenDance”*  that remind us of teamwork, one of the most important of City Year's ten organizational values.
Throughout my year of service, teamwork has played a crucial role in ensuring that I as well as the rest of my team provides the best quality of service for our students. We often collaborate with each other on things such as lesson plans or sharing tutoring techniques with each other to help out other teammates who feel challenged by a student.

One such example of this happened earlier last week when I was talking to my teammate Talia about how I was struggling keeping a group of students I was working with on track with what we were reading in our group. Having worked with some of my students before, she suggested the technique of having the students track the text with their fingers while I read aloud to the entire group. The next day when I working with my group and reading a passage together I gave them instructions that I wanted to see whoever wasn’t reading tracking the text with their finger along with the reader.  While I did have to do some redirecting, I was glad to see all my students patiently tracking along the text as we took turns reading from paragraph to paragraph.

This strategy offered by my teammate may have seemed like a simple suggestion, but to me it was a show of support that strengthened my ability to help my students. While challenges like this may sometimes seem formidable, I know that with the support of my team, I have the support I need to powerfully serve our students.

*A special dance put on by City Year for students that have perfect attendance for a month.

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