Today we went into the classrooms for our first full day of school. The experience was far different than what I expected, the children were very welcoming towards me and all the other guys. When we first walked in we started a basketball game and very quickly got some of the students to join us. Then, once they started their day we got to see their whole announcement session which is surprisingly very similar to the one we do at Calvert Hall. After this, we went into their assembly schedule and had a presentation from one of the speakers. Immediately, a few of the children in my grade invited me to sit next to them, which I had no idea they would be so willing. After our assembly, we got into the classrooms. In my grade, which is 5th, the class got along very well with your normal 5th-grade student drama. However, we quickly realized that finding a balance in many senses was very difficult. Collectively we agreed that it was hard to avoid being a disciplinarian and trying to show care and kindness to all the students, not just a select few. A lot of us also found it challenging to stay a role model and help the teacher while trying to make friends and form relationships.
For me personally, I was shocked how ready to have a relationship the children were. I loved having conversations with all of them and getting to know them on more than just an academic level. However, we also got to know them as students. I spent a lot of time reading with a few of them and helping with math or religion. I found though that a lot of them love having so many immersion students to help them with school work and make friends. I loved the friendship aspect, one girl made me a card and another made me a bracelet, within just a few hours of meeting me, which I thought was a really cool, genuine thing that they used to express friendship. All-in-all, I loved the experience of meeting so many different children and, whether it was in friendly banter or hugs, I enjoyed spending time with them in their school. I can’t wait to further develop friendships and my ability as a teacher’s assistant in the classroom. I hope that for the first day I made as much of an impact as the students did on me, to name a few: Maddy, Raegan, and Demarcus. (Justin, Class of 2020)
Today was our first day working at the school. It began with a rough wake up at 6 while Mr. Ortiz played some Wham! to wake us up. What followed was a chaotic scramble for showers, breakfast, getting dressed, and making our lunches. It took some convincing to get Clay out of bed, but we eventually got him up. As we were continuing to wake up, our nervousness and excitement rose as we were not sure what to expect later in the day. We trudged through the cold to get the cars started and head into town. The drive was amazing as we could see the shining lights of the town of Browning in the distance while the sun had not risen yet. The Rockies were barely visible in the majestic background. When we arrived at the school, we went to the gym and started playing some basketball while waiting for the students to get there. As more students were arriving, we began playing some pickup basketballs games with them and they were certainly better. The rest of the students arrived and the morning assembly began. They meet every morning in the gym for morning announcements and a salutation line where everyone shakes hands and offers good mornings. All the teachers participated in this and we were also included in it. Everyone remained in the gym though for a special presentation from Brother Jim as he talked about what it means to be Catholic and Lasallian. We then watched a short movie for Catholic schools week. When it concluded, everyone went to their respective classrooms and the real work began. Nate and I are with 6th grade this week and they are an awesome group of kids. I can see the close-knit friendships they all have and it was so cool to be a part of it. We started off with volleyball in gym class then went to math class where we reviewed different angle measures. Even though I was a new face, the kids were frequently asking me questions and clarification on the assignment. As the day went on, the kids tested Nate and I and asked us a ton of questions. Even though they were messing with us, I could tell they were happy we were there. We continued to form relationships with the students. Even though the day grew longer, it seemed their energy levels increased. When the day finally ended, I was exhausted. We went back to the bunkhouse to rest and eventually eat dinner. Mr. Bobak began making our breakfast for dinner which consisted of stuffed French toast and bacon. He and I worked in the kitchen on the Bobak family recipe. It was a satisfying meal to end a mentally draining day. I am very satisfied with how the first day of school went and I am looking forward to learning more about the kids and allowing the kids to teach me a few things about myself. (Paulie, Class of 2019)