Saturday, October 18, 2014

In the Service of What? - Extended Comments

For this blog post, I decided to do an extended comments piece on Erika Lincoln’s blog. I was reading her blog, and her experience with service learning was extremely similar to mine.

         Erika starts her blog off with a summary and analysis of “In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning” by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer. She talks about the importance and the benefits that students can gain through tutoring at less privileged schools. Just like her, I completely agree that this is the best way that we - future educators – can learn. Though some of the lectures we sit through can be beneficial, service learning will be such a hands-on experience will be so useful and informational.
       In her next paragraph, Erika talks about how she could relate to the students in Mr.Johnson’s class went to under privileged areas and tutored. At first these students were fearful and many of the parents weren’t too thrilled about their children tutoring, “horrifying children running around on a dirty campus." They automatically assumed that the children would be rude, unfriendly and affiliated with gangs. Soon after their visits their view on these elementary school students changed. They came to realize that the children were actually polite, well mannered and well behaved and they stereotyped the families and children who live in that are based on their family’s views and ideas. Just as Erika, I can one hundred percent relate to this. At first I was worried that the children would behave horribly and the school wouldn’t be in that great of shape. I think the biggest reason for this is because all my life, Providence was never looked at as an ideal place to live or even to be in. I had always had the idea in my head that some areas in Providence aren’t that safest to be in and it made me nervous to have to be in one of those areas and teach the students who live there. Just as the students in Mr.Johnson’s class, I realized after my visit how incredibly wrong I was.
     In her following paragraph she describes her personal experience with her service-learning placement. As I read through her experiences at her school, I found myself in constant agreement with her. I had my first visit this past Friday at CharlotteWoods Elementary School in the south side of Providence. Prior to going, I was scared and nervous of what I was going to encounter. I looked online to see the demographics of the school and found a section of suspensions for the school and why there were suspensions. There were a few suspensions last year for larceny, weapon possession, substance abuse and many for violence and behavioral problems. This was shocking for me because with all the volunteer work I have done, I’ve never heard of elementary school students with this kind of behavior. So of course, walking into the school on the first day I was super nervous that I would have some problem children in my classroom. As I pulled up to the school, I arrived at a large and very nice building, when I went inside it was just as nice – even nicer than the elementary school I went to. I then finally got to meet the children I will be working with for the rest of the semester. As I sat and observed the children, they were so well behaved and nice. They started coming up to me and just wanted to know more about me. As the hour passed, I got to help numerous children and found out how incredibly smart they all were. Most of the fifth graders excelled in math, and even the dominantly Spanish speaking ESL students understood the content and were able to successfully complete the material. As my time in the classroom came to an end, I was thrilled. The kids were so nice and inviting and it made me so excited for my next visit. I left with a sense of relief that all my worries vanished and I could now go there and fully enjoy my time and hopefully make a difference in some of the children’s lives. As Lisa Delpit says “teachers are in an ideal position to play this role, to attempt to get all of the issues on the table in order to initiate true dialogue.” Educators can be the ones who can make a difference and bring an end to the stereotypes that so many people have – even including myself. Being in this classroom just completely verified that I am going down the right career path. I hope to do what Delpit says I am in such a perfect position to do – to create a culturally diverse yet equal classroom. Service learning is a great way to learn just how I can do this through the teacher in the classroom, and through the students.


  1. Great connections using Erica's blog.

  2. I think we all had these fears going into our service learning projects. We have all heard about all the crime in Providence, and it's always referred to as a disreputable part of the state, so we had some inhibitions and misconceptions going into it. Like you and Erika, I was also pleasantly surprised. Great connections.
    I'm going to use your blog as the springboard for my extended comments... comments on comments!

  3. Awesome job on your blog! Thank you so much for referencing me, I really appreciate it:)

  4. I agree with Karissa you did a great connection using Erica's blog!

  5. It's great to see that your pre-perceptions were changed upon arrival to your service learning school. I think if we were all to check the police reports / arrests of our local towns and cities, we would be quite surprised!