I remember when I was growing up, that I couldn't wait until June 6th came, because the school year would finally be over and I could enjoy my summer. I didn't have to think about school again until the 3rd week of August, when I would have to go back to school. I would start a countdown in my assignment book starting in May, where I would cross out the days, so when the teacher jokingly asked how many days were left, I was fully prepared to answer them.
This year was dramatically different…this year I’m on the opposite side of the desk. I have seen kids who, if I asked, how many days were left in May, they would be able to tell me the exact number of days. Today is the last day of school at St. Mary of the Lake School, my site for 2013-2014 Amate House year. I have been blessed to be a part of the s
chool this year, through my service with Preschool, 2nd/3rd grade, 4th/5th, along with my after-school program. I started this year as a complete stranger, as each were to me. As the year progressed, I found it hard to think of life without each and every one of them. My students this year has not only changed because of me, but they have also changed me. Heading into this year, I had never worked in a school before, but I knew with my year of service, that I wanted to be placed in a school that needed the help.
Throughout my year, my students have taught me not only about the countries in which they came from, but they also taught me a lesson on resiliency. Students have overcome language barriers, problems at home, or the loss of a loved one. Students are forced to deal with these issues while caring a heavy workload. I tried to bring with me each day a listening ear, and a smile to help out the students in anyway possible, which seemed to make all the difference in the world to some. Others, I had to try harder and over time, I was able to truly connect with those students. I stressed to my students the importance of education to accomplish their lofty goals, which in turn, taught me that I had to set my own lofty goals and accomplish them just like my students. I have seen significant growth from each of my students from the beginning of the year to the end, beyond my wildest dreams.
So as I finish my last day of school, now I’m the one who didn't count down the days until the end of school. I am the one who is wishing for more time with my students, so that I could see their smiling faces; receive their hugs and high-fives every morning when I get to school. Each of my students has left an important impact to me this year that I cannot put into words.
Amate House is still accepting applications for the 2014-15 Program Year! To learn more, visit us at www.amatehouse.org or call the office at 773-376-2445!