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  • Writer's pictureLauren

Freedom Summer (Part 2)

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

My scholars! (Wakanda Forever)

The kids I'm working with come from all different backgrounds but one thing they have in common is their browness, I know how important having a black role model is (especially as I'm still searching for mine) and I do my best to embody what I think a role model should act like. Meaning I have to evolve and adapt everyday however, in teaching others you, yourself have to be willing to learn from them. So here are some things I've learned…

  1. Be persistent- Sometimes you'll actually want to be done. Like the time when one of your scholars spills milk on your brand new shows OR when it takes your class 33 minutes (yes I timed it) to get ready for the next activity. It's frustrating, but if you give up you'll never be able to experience the great moments like getting a card saying you're the best teacher ever or seeing one of your scholars read a book they've been struggling with.

  2. Get tough- Get tough on yourself first. For me, this meant breaking out of my comfort zone in several ways. One huge change was gaining enough confidence to lead cheers and address large groups of scholars. I had to force myself not to be the one who sat back while the other interns took over. Of course you can't only be tough on yourself but you have to learn that, despite their cuteness, you have to be tough on your scholars. This honestly came as a struggle to me. I hated raising my voice, sending them to the office, or threatening to take away recess but sometimes it is necessary and will do them and the class as a whole good. One of my favorite scholars, who was adorable, was always causing disruptions and one day it just got way too much for me to handle so I had to send him to the office. When he came back he came back with a much better attitude and also that cutest note telling me that he loved being in my class and that he would no longer be insubordinate (yes, he used that word, he's a genius). Kids tears used to take me out and I'd do whatever it took not for the tears to stop but I learned not to be afraid of tears as they're mostly for show. Also they might say "you're mean" or "I hate you", they don't mean it. And if they do, they'll forget by the next day. It's fine.

  3. Care- if nothing else, care, they'll know you care, they can tell you care, and they'll care that you care. Caring is exhausting. One of my scholars got hand sanitizer in his eyes and screamed and cried as a tried to help him rinse out his eye. His screams of pain nearly brought me to tears, caring can be exhausting, it can be trying, but it is also what will get you through the tough times.

*BONUS* There are no bad kids, especially at a young age they have a lot to learn about themselves and the world. Don't write them off as bad or hopeless.

Teaching is probably one of the most challenging things that I've ever done, but it is also the most rewarding. Freedom school is more than half way over and it's gone by way too quick. From the moment my nine kindergarteners, walked, ran, jumped and karate-chopped their way into Ms. Lauren's jungle (the theme of my room) I knew that they would be a handful and they certainly are. Yet, everyday they bring light to my day, make me smile and laugh with their antics, jokes, and growth. So far, this summer has been full of challenges that turned into learning experiences and lots of memories.


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