I genuinely love what I get to do at my job. If you would have asked me before college if I could picture myself being excited to go to my part-time job every day, I would have laughed at you.
It started off as one of the multiple jobs I would pick up this year to help me pay the bills.
Getting to talk to students about the university that I have fallen in love with and a major I feel is not only challenging, but fun is such a wonderful experience.
My job is unique in the fact that it involves me and a few of my coworkers taking an occasional field trip to one of the local inner-city middle schools.
Just recently I visited a school on Cleveland’s East side where I got to help lead an engineering based activity and talk to students about college.
Never was I expecting to learn from these kids that,
Not everyone has been as lucky as me.
I won’t lie, as soon as I walked into this school I was so shocked that I almost started crying. Coming from an area where all the surrounding school districts were sought after high ranked schools with a constant update to our resources- this was a complete 180 from what I was used to.
Seeing the old beaten-up textbooks and outdated computers was a shock.
Our presence in the school was not only an excitement for the lucky students we got to spend our time with, but it was something special for the teachers.
On this visit, I spent a great deal of time talking to one of the teachers while the kids worked on their team’s activity. She was holding back tears of joy as she thanked me for what I was doing. I told her that it wasn’t anything special, that it was a part of my job and that I loved getting to expose middle schoolers to this because my brother was the same age as her students.
She explained to me that for most of these children, college has never been on their radar, that she felt it was her mission to help get as many students thinking about college as possible.
To her, the opportunity that just a two-hour visit from us was life-changing for these kids. Seeing them excited to learn and build was incredible.
Despite having the odds against them, these kids were striving to beat the odds.
These kids knew that the numbers were not in their favor- they attended a school with extremely limited resources and poor test scores.
What was the biggest shock to me was that knowing this seemed to push the kids to work even harder. The resources they had were limited, but that didn’t stop them from wanting to learn and asking questions. I have never seen a group of children so eager to learn and want to gain as much as the could out of such a brief period of time.
Getting to see these kids look the unfavorable odds in the face and tell it that that won’t define them is incredible.
There is something unfathomable about these kids.
Be thankful for every single opportunity I have had- and will have.
As an outsider to this school district it seems like an extreme for me but for the students that go there, it really made me appreciate what opportunities I had in middle school and high school. It has also really opened my eyes to seek out new opportunities. Not everyone is given the same opportunities in life so when presented with them, I am going to run with it and take my chances.
A teacher who cares is the foundation for success.
What stood out the most to me on my short visit, was just how much these teachers cared about their students.
They were the ones who were aware the most of the odds stacked against the students. Most teachers would give up and only care about their test scores, but not these teachers.
These were the rare teachers- the ones who care about their student and make it their mission to help. They are the ones who show up to work every day, not for the paycheck but to help the kids who need it the most.
I could see that the teacher’s positive attitude and mindset were contagious- that was why these kids were so determined to beat the odds. They talked about going to college for athletics, for engineering, medical school and everything in between. This was all because of the teachers.
Happiness and positivity are contagious and sometimes when the odds are overwhelmingly not in your favor, the feverous attitude of just one person is what can change the mood of everyone and literally change lives. Amid limited resources, were children who not only wanted to learn from me but who also ended up teaching me.