Katina serves as a Team Leader at the George W. Childs K-8 School. This is her second year serving as an AmeriCorps member at City Year Philadelphia.
What did your day to day look like as a Corps Member last year?
My day would begin with a SEPTA ride to G.W. Childs K-8 School. At 7:45, my team met to discuss our goals and announcements for the day. Next, the team would venture down to the entering hallway to powerfully greet students to get them excited about entering the school. After morning greetings, I would go to my individual 6th grade classroom, which was math focused. Within the math class, I did the majority of tutoring in the classroom. After math class, the next block was literacy class. In literacy class, I would do individualized tutoring outside of the classroom. Lunch followed these two classes. During lunch, I would either focus on attendance check-ins, or behavior interventions. Once lunch was over, I had prep time until the after-school program. My prep time was used for phone calls home to parents whose students were absent, session planning, or preparing for the after-school space. Our after school program consisted of 45 minutes of homework zone, and 45 minutes of a club like art, math etc... My day would end with a final check-in meeting with my team where we shared the success of the day.
Is there a student that sticks out to you from the City Year experience?
I remember a student that I tutored in math and literacy last year. She was extremely quiet and getting to know her was like pulling teeth. She wouldn't raise her hand in class, participate in small groups, or ask for help. I found, however, that when I would engage with her in a one-on-one tutoring space, she opened up. She explained that due to the fact that English was not her first language, she was constantly thinking that what she was saying was not grammatically correct and therefore, never wanted to participate in class. I not only tutored her in academics, but motivated her to be more self-confident. By the end of the year, she was raising her hand to read out loud in literacy class, and working well in small groups during math class. My proudest moment was seeing her participate in the City Year Literacy Event. She stepped outside of her comfort zone and I know she will continue to push herself.
What do you plan to do after City Year?
I hope to get my Master's Degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in order to work with English language learners in multiple settings. My dream is to eventually start my own coffee shop that sells coffee by day and teaches English classes by night.
What advice would you give to future AmeriCorps Members?
Take the different strengths from everyone on your team and use them to balance out your own weaknesses! Everyone has something to contribute, and it is truly amazing when everyone is working as one, cohesive unit in order to embody the 'students first, collaboration always' City Year value.