I'm sitting in Panera right now (boy this takes me back) doing some homework in between jobs. Okay, so technically it isn't homework since the semester doesn't start until Wednesday. But is it really so weird to want to get ahead on my readings? I didn't think so.
This morning I was a media TA, which basically consisted of me doing aforementioned homework with a ten minute interruption to read to some kindergarteners. At first I was bummed that it was the only job available for today because I get half as much money being a TA compared to being a regular teacher. However, getting paid any amount to do homework is a great deal regardless of the sum. And I love working in the media, so hopefully today will lead to future sub jobs.
Friday was an exhausting day in third grade. It was Friday, it had been raining all week, the kids were tired of being indoors, and I was the lucky sub who got to navigate it. Sweet kids, but they would not listen at all. They did, however, give me a little exposure to a topic that kept coming up in my classes last semester: working with students from all backgrounds. Multicultural counseling is a topic that I consider highly important, but I hated talking about it in class because we went over it so quickly that it felt like a waste. In a way, I thought my talk with these kids was more helpful.
As part of our pre-reading for the day, we talked about citizenship: what it is, how to be a good citizen, and why it's important. By the time we got to this last one I was really into the rhythm of the lesson and couldn't wait to hear the kids' thoughts. I was practically bouncing around the room, carried by my ideas on how to guide the conversation. To foster a sense of community! To help meet the needs of the community! To be a part of something bigger than yourself! Totally inspiring stuff, right? Except when I called on a student to tell me why it's important to be a good citizen, his response was, "So you don't have to go to jail." The next student elaborated on it by saying you could also avoid juvy. And at least four or five others gave answers along those lines. There I was in my Mary Poppins world of sunshine, and suddenly it hit me that for some of those kids citizenship, maybe even success, is exemplified in a life without legal conflict. These kids live about 15 minutes away from where I grew up, but their goals and motivations were completely foreign to me. I don't want to overgeneralize and assume that this is the only idea these kids have for the future; I'm only with them for one day, after all. But the fact that this concept of jail or juvy enters into their schema of the world and isn't just something on TV makes me reconsider how "typical" of an upbringing I really had. And it makes me wonder how good I'll be at relating to these kids in order to foster a positive therapeutic relationship.