Thursday, December 1, 2011


When I came to English class for the first time of the semester and heard about our service and what we would be doing, I was scared. I had tutored children before, but never people older than me let alone people close to my parent's age. The feeling of being scared didn't go away until the second or third time going to service. When we were sitting in the CFL the first night, I was praying that I would get a female learner because I didn't want to work with a male. It turned out that I would be tutoring a female and I was so happy.

Looking back on the first night that I met with Sonia, my learner, I am so proud of her. The first night she told me everything she wanted to learn so that she could pass the GED. To be honest I was nervous because some of the things she needed to learn, I'm not that good at such as grammer. I didn't let that stop me, I just told myself when we get to it I'll worry about it then. We have been working mainly just on math which I am grateful for because I love math. Up till now we have done adding, subtracting, multiplication, division, the order of operations, mixed numbers, and improper fractions. Some of these things she already knew and we just built off of. For two week Sonia didn't come and I was worried that she would have forgotten everything we had done, I was wrong. She came back with her homework and she got a hundred on all of it. I gave her a quiz and she didn't do too hot, but we went over it. She saw her mistakes and asked me to give her another quis. She got a 100 on this one and I was so proud. Afterwards she told me that when Mark was telling her how to do this it didn't click, but since I took it slowly and explained everything to her, she finally got it.

I never knew how big of an affect this would have on me. I never thought I would create a personal attachment to my learner because that isn't my personality. It made me so happy to hear her say this and I can't wait to go back in January and help her more and more. Sonia is truly and amazing person who has put others before herself her life. She has four children that she has put through school and even a grandchild who she is helping get through school as well. She only came to the CFL because she had stroke this past January and she knows that she cannot continue at her current job with the level of education she has completed. I know that at the end of this school year Sonia won't be ready to take the GED, but I hope that everything I have done up until then will help her along her way.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Object

On Monday when I was at the CFL waiting for my learner to arrive I was looking around for my object. All around the small room there are posters with different sorts of pictures of Mark with his students. These objects didn't stand out to me, it wasn't until I turned around and saw a poster that says: YOU GO GIRL! REACH FOR YOUR GOALS BEFORE YOU GET PREGNANT!

I found it very odd that this poster was here. First of all because most of the people at the CFL are way past the point in their lives where they would be having children, so the poster isn't even relevant to their lives. Second of all I thought it is rude. Some women who attend the CFL may had to drop out of school and end their education because they did get pregnant. I was thinking about how it must feel to go the CFL and see a reminder of why you need to be there. Sure the women didn't mean to get pregnant and end their education on purpose, but seeing this poster probably doesn't help their self esteem.

I think this poster has a very concrete message. There is nothing metaphorical about it. It is what it says reach your goals, before you get pregnant. I think this poster is a constant reminder that having children at a young age hinders a women's/mother's ability to continue her education. Once a girl has a child, there are two people in the world she has to look out for- the child and herself. It is obvious that the girl won't have the time to continue on in school if she has her kid at a young age; because all of her attention will be on her child, not her schoolwork.

 I am not 100% sure if this poster connects to my learner. She has told me all about her kids, but never once has she told me that they were the reason she stopped going to school. She did however have her children very young. I think that this poster is a sort of slap in her face. She never had the opportunity to accomplish her school related goals, but she did accomplish other goals. One she is a successful mother and grandmother. She also had a job for 25 years in the health field and is now out on disability. She also made the decision to finish her education at the age of 48 and I think that is very brave. I commend all of the learners at the CFL because they probably faced many different obstacles such as pregnancy at a young at, yet they are still trying to finish their education. I find it very offensive being a young woman and seeing what teen pregnancy can do to people. Not every one at the CFL can relate to this poster, so I don't even know why it is up.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Midterm Reflection

This summer before coming to St. Joe's, I was very nervous about college. I was going back and forth with the decision about where to go to school, and I was scared that I picked the wrong college. One of my sister's friends who is a sophomore gave me some of the best advice, since she had just gone through her freshman year. She told me that I am not going to be the only person at school who is nervous, and everyone is starting out in a new place. Now after being in school for almost 3 months the nerves have melted away. I am so happy with my decision to come to St. Joe's and I cannot see myself at any other school.

Thinking back to this time last year I see have young I really was. Everything that monopolized my life last year seems so unimportant now. I was so caught up in petty high school drama and gossip that it ruled my life. I went to an all girls high school, so drama was always present. I am so glad that I was able to break free of dumb high school drama and be off on my own. Since coming to college I have become more responsible and independent. I don't go running to my mom or dad when I have a problem. Instead I think about how I can resolve the issue on my own.

I wish I could go back to my senior self and tell her not to worry about useless things. That drama won't be running my life when I go to college. I would also tell myself to enjoy the time with my friends and family because you'll miss them to death in college.

Since coming to college not much has changed with my habits, interest, or outlooks. However, some of my priorities have changed. The biggest one is concerning my schoolwork. I think about my schoolwork all the time. I used to procrastinate all of my work in high school, but now I do it right when I get it so I have more time to sleep. I love college and hope the rest of the semester is as good as it has been so far.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rosa Lee

When I picked up the book last week to read for Thursday, I had no idea what it was about. I was about to read the back of the book, when I decided that I wanted to be surprised. After reading the first few pages I sure was surprised. I was so shocked by the story of Rosa Lee that started to unfold. It was also very shocking to see that Rosa Lee was so open with her life. I would think that someone who has been addicted to heroin almost their whole life would be scared to tell their story, in fear of getting in trouble. I was also shocked to read about the different places that these events were taking place. I live in a very small suburban town in Maryland that is 25 minutes from D.C. I go to D.C. all the time and to read about this areas in this way only confirmed my suspicions that I had about them. It is also sad to see that these events are happening so close to the capitol, yet not much was done about it.

Two quotes really stood out to me in the reading. The first one is, "'Mama if you don't give me a hit,' she said, 'then I'm going to go out of here and trick." And the other one is related to this, "Fifteen years would pass before Patty would go as long as two months without drugs." I was so shocked that Patty would threaten her mother like that. I know from experience that it wouldn't work if I tried that on my mother, but I also had a very different childhood. At the time Patty was only fifteen and she had already started her battle with addiction. I just couldn't believe that a mother could willingly give one of her children a very addicted drug. I had a completely different childhood then Rosa Lee and her children. I was not exposed to drugs until high school and it was not even the hard-core kind like cocaine and heroin. I had heard "horror stories", but none of these compare to Rosa Lee's. It is also sad the think about how Rosa Lee had to live with the fact that she played an prominent role in her own daughter's addiction that lasted for the majority of her life.

I think that this quote can relate to service in a couple of ways. First of all some of the learners could have been dropped out of school because they had some sort of addiction, but that isn't the only way it can be related. Parents are a child's first role model. I know that when I was younger all I wanted to be when I grew up was just like my mom, and I'm sure that is true for most people. Patty's role model was unlike most of ours. Her role model was a drug addict, so all Patty knew about an adult life was drugs. It was only natural for her to get roped into the same life as her mom. I'm sure that many of the learners had role models similar to Patty. Not in the sense that they were necessarily addicted to drugs, but who were not fully present. Due to the fact that their parents were not fully present, then they were struggling in school they had no one to fight for them. It is truly sad that the learners, as well as Patty, never had role models who were there for them. I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have a mom that was so fully dedicated to my siblings and me.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My First Day of Service

When we were driving in the van to service last Monday, I had a very sick feeling in my stomach. I was very nervous about meeting my learner and tutoring him or her. When we were walking in the feeling didn't go away. After sitting down and listening to Mark Edmunds talk to us the feeling started to go away, but it fully went away when I met my learner.
I sat down and we went over her goals. She was so sweet and so grateful that I was there to help her. She told me that she wants to learn how to read, learn, and do math better. We started out by going over the sight words and she did very well. Next I gave her a little spelling test on the words in the phonics workbook and she did very well on this as well. I was so nervous that I would get a learner who didn't know how to read at all and I would have to teach her the basics. I was thankful that she knew how read and write. We then went over her math skills and she knows how to do basic math like adding and subtracting. Then we moved onto multiplying and dividing and that got difficult because she didn't know how to do long division and I sorta forgot how to do it as well. So I got to brush up on my math skills as well as helping her.
When the night ended my learner asked me for a lot of homework. It was a little weird because I have always hated homework, but my learner really wanted some. So I gave her a lot of homework because we won't meet again until the 24th and I felt really bad, but she assured me it was fine. I am really glad that I got the opportunity to take this class because I got to meet my learner and I am really glad I get the opportunity to help her!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Expectations of Service

When I go to service I do not really know what I expect to feel. I know I will be a little nervous because I have never been in a situation like this before. I have volunteered with a few organizations, but they have usually been working with some sort of youth organization. I have never really tutored anyone either so that adds another level of anxiety. I am very nervous about tutoring because I do not want to teach them anything wrong. I hope that all my fears will go away once I start working with my learner.
At service I expect to see adults trying to learn new things, so they can make their lives better. I am actually excited to see this because it is nice seeing adults trying to make their and their families lives better. It just shows how much love someone can have for their family even if it means asking for help, which many people don't like doing.
I am trying not to think too much about service because I don't want to start stereotyping the learner I will be placed with. I want to have an open mind and not have an pre-conceived notions before I meet my learner. I hope to get the full experience out of service, so I think it's best not to imagine what it will be like because I know I will start judging what is going to happen.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Photo Project

This picture is located in my common room in St. Mary's Hall. Whenever I walk into my house I see this picture and it makes me feel at home. At first I was nervous about coming to school and being away from but this picture makes me feel a little less nervous. Being a part of this school makes me want to strive to embody what "being a hawk" means. I hope that by the end of my time here I'll finally know what that means. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

observations of st. joe's

  1. After attending an all girls high school it is very weird to see guys everywhere.
  2. I've noticed that people walk at different speeds, depending on where they are from.
  3. Half of the St. Joe's students are from New Jersey.
  4. Almost every guy that i've met is named mike.
  5. People don't know how to share the sidewalk.
  6. A lot of students have to walk from merion hall to either bellarmine hall or post hall in ten minutes.
  7. Whenever I go to get food from the dinning hall on the weekends, it is always closed.
  8. There are very few guys in my education class.
  9. Playing a sport is like being in a cult.
  10. Taxi drivers are kind of creepy.
  11. A lot more people than i expected came to school with girlfriends/ boyfriends.
  12. It's not always sunny in philadelphia.