Friday, April 8, 2011

Community Service Mini-Informal Essay Thing

This is another queued post, because I have no life and therefore spend a heck of a lot of time thinking about blog-worthy things yet I don't want to post more than once per day. You'd think I'd have better things to do than contemplate the assumptions, trends, and connotations associated with the word "liberal." Well guess what: Either I don't, or I just multi-task rather well. Or both.

(Paragraph of Self-Deprecation Has Achieved Completion)

Anyways. I was actually working on my Civics & Economics (we're in the Civics portion now) homework and realized the mini-informal-essay I was writing might be of interest to you guys, since it's about my involvement with my old elementary school's writing club, which I talk about on here from time to time. (I can't help but feel that my teacher's judging me, though. I write my Economics book report on For The Win by Cory Doctorow, interview Alan Lastufka for the Economics powerpoint, and now I'm confessing that I write novels in my free time for Civics. Nerd pride, you guys. DFTBA.)

At any rate, here is the essay:

I volunteer as a mentor in the writing club at my old elementary school, and have been doing so for over a year. This club is comprised of 4th and 5th graders, and meets on a bi-weekly basis.
In June 2010, the teacher-sponsor of the club announced she was leaving to take a job at a different school, so in the fall, my best friend (the other mentor) and I were the ones to take the initiative in finding another teacher to keep the club going.
Our job main job is to circulate among the students throughout the hour, answering their questions, proof-reading their stories, and keeping them on-task. Sometimes we lead small groups in which the students read their stories aloud before listening to feedback given by the others. In November, I organized participation in National Novel Writing Month’s Young Writer’s Program, the adult version of which I have now completed two years in a row. This involved helping the kids to set a reasonable word-count goal for themselves and to then meet it by the end of the month. The majority of them completed and even exceeded their goals, and several of the same kids are now in the midst of NaNoWriMo’s sister program, Script Frenzy.
Being a high school mentor for these kids is a unique experience, because I don’t hold the status of at teacher, nor do I view them as being strictly under my authority despite that I do expect them to listen. There is a relationship of mutual respect and understanding, which has done wonders when it comes to them listening to my writing advice. I’m close enough in age that I’m not in the “I’ll never be that old” unreachable category, but I’m also in talks with a literary agent to get my one completed novel published. This allows them to believe that I give them suggestions based on experience rather than curriculum or “this is just the way I want you to do it,” as is sometimes the belief regarding teachers.
I find volunteering with this club to be very fulfilling. It’s exactly the kind of club I wish the school had had when I was there, so I’m glad to be a part of making it possible for the kids like me who are there right now.

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