By Seamus McGuire, AmeriCorps Member, Alumni Sponsored Team,
Serving at Parker-Varney Elementary School
The end of the service year is in sight. Corps members have only a month left before they become City Year alumni. Some of us have already settled into our future LACY plans and are looking at our next journey. As a member of the Parker-Varney team I am able to look back on all that we have accomplished this year. However, there is still work to be done, even if the pace has slowed. When I was in college we were warned of the made up disease called, “Senioritis” which is characterized by a lack of motivation, or a decline in performance due to being near completion of a term. While it’s normal for anyone to have feelings of senioritis, I have found that it is different when you are working at City Year.
Sure it is tempting to ease up. We have already achieved many of the goals that have been laid before us. Parker-Varney has already held its Literacy Night, Math Night, and Community Meeting. Most of my focus list students have already reached the 900 minutes they require in Math or English Language Arts. But these are not reasons to let up. In fact, I have found that I’m becoming even more invested and motivated to push and test my student’s abilities. I have already talked with my focus list students and the conversations we have now are along the lines of, “You are almost fourth graders!” I’m so excited to have seen the progress they have made in one year. However, I still want to help them improve their confidence and self-efficacy. I let them know that I will not always be there to lend a hand. I want them to be able to confidently attempt a problem or word without looking for help from the start. They often at times know how to answer a problem, but seek reassurance or confirmation. I want them to be able to leave 3rd grade with the ability to try a problem with confidence. These last two months are not about coasting by and doing the bare minimum. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with young like-minded people to try and change the world for the better. It’s about putting in all that you have and wanting to look back on this experience as one where you left everything you had on the table, and finished strong.