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“Even when I don’t know what I need…”

“EVEN WHEN I DON’T KNOW WHAT I NEED…

By Brittany Clausell, AmeriCorps Promise Fellow serving at Orono High School 

As with every week, there are many surprises and many moments for reflection. I have had my share of needed reflections to find a way to center myself in the midst of everything going on. While doing this, I started seeing this same theme come from one of my focus list students. This student is mistaken by many as a student who “does get it”, is “checked-out”, or “self-absorbed.” These assumptions could not be further from the truth. When I first met this student, he did come off somewhat like the assumptions others had previously stated, but I am about finding out who the student is aside from their struggles, because if this is the energy he gives off to people, there then is a story there worth figuring out. In beginning, the student knew that working with me would be something beneficial, but he was a bit apprehensive.

So, after giving him my speech of what I can offer him, we met another time, then not too often after that. I decided that a bi-weekly or even a monthly check-in might be best. He surprised me when he showed out at the school’s media center with a pass to use a computer. Curiously, all the computers were taken, but my door was open. He came to me and said, “Do you remember when you told me that even if I don’t know what to say or know what I need, just show up sometime and see what I can do for you?” I responded with yes, and he said that today was going to be one of those days.

We talked about what he needed to get done, which he thought was to just use my computer to finish a slide show, but he ended up leaving with a completed slide show, a video link, guidance on how to present his work to his class, and even some discussion questions/tips to ask classmates during his presentation to add more depth to his work.

He was so happy that he had been given this advice that when I checked-in with him the next week, he told me that done very well on the presentation and that he now had confidence in himself. He is open to my openness, which goes a long way in many lives of our youth.

[From “Voices From the Field: Reflections from Minnesota Alliance With Youth’s AmeriCorps Promise Fellows.” Winter 2016.]

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