School is in session!

My day started with snooze. Because I'm working education I have the freedom to sleep in a bit longer than everyone else-- I don't start work until 9 am. I ate raisin bran for breakfast, drank a bunch of water and knitted a few rows of the scarf I've been working on lately.
  • Knitting has become a serious passion. While at Blackwater I spent a lot of time knitting and even purchased myself a great book titled Super Stitches Knitting. Aunti K, you would be so proud of how far I've come since the beginning of that dish rag. I've taught myself everything I know from books and I'm happy. With every project I learn more and this book presents many opportunities for me to experiment with different patterns, styles, and types of knitting. It's an easy way for me to try new stuff without getting frustrated. I still love to crochet doilies, and knitting is quickly catching up. I had no idea it could be this great!
Following breakfast a small group of us (4 NCCC'ers) went to the Biloxi Alternative School, a k-12 school for students with behavioral problems, and played soccer with a couple groups of students. I haven't had that much fun playing sports since I was a kid! I ran plenty and even caught a few smiles from the boys on my team that resented being there. One of the older young men in particular had a sour attitude in the beginning, opting to stand against the wall instead of warming up with us because he didn't want to dirty his fancy shoes. His clothing was coordinated: white T, blue shorts, and blue and white suede kicks. He kept flexing the muscles of his chest indiscreetly, and he kept brushing the grass and dew off the sides and soles of his much-loved shoes. Clearly his appearance was very important to himself. Sadly, even after rejoining Team Old School he was still very concerned about his shoes keeping clean. The good news is that he ran with us a bunch, scored a couple sweet goals, and even worked well in the team setting, passing to younger less-experienced teammates and staying mostly positive.

Lunch was ridiculously long. I slept for two hours. It's warm already (around 70-75 degrees F) and the smothering humidity is new to me.

In the afternoon we (Miss Amy, Mr. Brett and myself) went to Pass Road elementary school to work with the kids in the after school program. I love Pass Road elementary! I went there yesterday and helped in the kindergarten class, did some one on one tutoring with older students and helped all-aged kids with their homework. The long division review was good for me. :) Today, however, was Friday Free Day and the students were able to play and have fun as long as they kept quiet in the building.

Our first group of students went out to the playground for some time and it was during this period that I had my low for the day (I will often mention highs and lows as this is a quick and easy way to recap events). I was sitting with the coach on a bench talking to a 6 yr old kindergarten boy and the coach was teasing him about chasing a girl around the playground. Coach asked if this girl was his girlfriend and he (the boy) quickly answered that no, she was not his girlfriend but that he has one. The coach asked, "Are you sure?" "Yeah, she ain't my girlfriend! ***** is black and my mom says I can't have black girlfriends."

I cried tonight thinking about this and my heart hurts. What terrible parents to teach this to a child! Racism is learned. If you are a parent reading this blog, I beg you to consider your words before you speak because even jokes will remain in the minds of kids.

Sigh. Racial relations fascinate me. More to come on this subject later.

Some other stuff about school:
  • Some of the people at the school at really hard on the kids. Yelling at the students is fine, and some bark orders like there is no tomorrow. I've been told corporal punishment is still practiced. Today was nice because the loud and rude staff/volunteers weren't around and it was easy to see the children relax without that pressure. I received many more hugs today and the kids swallow up praise like sugar. They want affection. They want reassurance that they are/can be good students. I love giving this to them
  • Yesterday I had many students arguing whether or not I'm a girl. Oh, I shaved my head.It's been a week exactly since $arah cash money, another fire fighter, and I used razors and rid our scalps of all hair. Today the students didn't hassle me much, instead they wanted to play with me. And I have a week of growth.
Oh! Intro the high (with a sneaky low) of my day. After playing outside the students were brought in for TV time. I hate that they're plopped down on a rug and told to watch some brainless Disney channel original teen drama, but hey, at least they have someone to watch over them while their parents work. Anyhow, one little girl approached Miss Amy and asked "Miss Amy, do you know your pluses?" "My pluses?" "Yes, like you add numbers together?" The girl wanted to practice math instead of watching television and they slipped off to a quiet corner of the room. Soon afterwards a little boy came to me and said he didn't want to watch tv. I asked what he'd like to do instead and he quickly answered "Reading!" He found himself a book and read the entire story to me, staying on his best behavior the whole time.

I love receiving hugs from the children. I love playing shark and fish with them on the playground. I love seeing the sparkle in their eyes underneath their stony faces. I enjoy laughing at their silly games and I especially love watching them learn.

I'm tired. And I have an entire list of subjects...

  • Fake Beach
  • Rebuilding
  • Living Situation
  • Power of Blog
  • Projects
  • Voting
  • Fire Deployment
  • Race
  • Baltimore
  • Life after AmeriCorps
Be excited! I have the weekend ahead of me.

Comments

  1. Way to go reinforcing for those children that there are better things to do than watch TV. I rarely watch it, I don't even get the news in. I put the TV in the basement for that reason. We were taught differently in our family to respect all cultures. Sad that we have any kind of discrimination. I have felt that before because of my religion and my large family, it isn't very fun. You are very perceptive and a very good listener. You are a natural teacher and nurturer. Love your Aunt Connie

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