I wanted to write a reflection this week because I felt like I could relate this article to our service learning project that we are currently doing. The article "In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning" by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer had a few pressing points that I felt where important in regards to the topic of Service Learning.
Service learning should definitely be made a requirement for all high schools because it gives you a well rounded outlook on life from multiple perspectives. During my four years of high school I performed over 500 community service hours, this was easy for me to do because I chose to do things that I would have fun doing while making a change. Some of the things I've done are Special Olympics, volunteering at an Art Literacy Camp in the summer at my old elementary school. With both of these organizations I have worked with children with and without special needs both were very rewarding and I feel like I have become a better person because of it.
This article obviously made me reflect on my service learning project for FNED, that I am performing in a first grade class at Pell Elementary in Newport. All I can say is these kids desperately need one on one attention through out the school day but it's usually just the teacher and I in the classroom when I am there. I'm only there in the morning from 8:30-10:30 and many days I have considered staying for the whole day just so that the teacher has someone else in the classroom with her, because a lot of the kids have severe behavioral issues and can't last five minutes with out antagonizing another kid, acting out or telling on one another. The thing is most of them are capable of doing the work they just have either problems going on at home that are carrying over into the classroom or their behavioral issues aren't being taken care of by social workers or there parents so the teacher has to handle it when they come to school. This disrupts the learning process making it difficult for them to move on from grade to grade if they aren't able to pay attention in school. Regardless I like to believe the service that I am performing is making a change in the students and as I have gotten to know them I've built relationships with them.
This website describes the meaning of service learning and gives examples of some projects that have been done and some opportunities to perform such projects