The past three weeks of my job have been an incredible experience, when as part of my internship my workers and I had to do outreach to the local youth from our area. We began planning the classroom visits and the field trips a few months ago. As a group, we were going to focus on 6th, 7th, and 8th graders from Centennial and South Conejos Middle School, two of the less funded schools in the San Luis Valley. Conejos County is the poorest county in Colorado, so the kids from these schools don’t always have the same opportunities that children from other places do. I tutor math with 7th and 8th at South Conejos Middle School, working with children who are falling behind, and I discovered something pretty incredible. Most of the kids I worked with were actually very intelligent, but what they lacked was motivation, so everyday I worked with them I would find examples or relate what they were learning to everyday life. Doing the classroom visits and the Blanca Wetlands field trip were pretty similar to math tutoring, because when the kids saw the connections to what they were learning in a classroom their eyes lit up. If you look at the photos of the kids in the water, only one of them is wearing water boots and the rest are knee-deep in filthy, bug-infested water! After we were heading back to the bus, one of the teachers came up to me and told me, “You guys did an amazing job; I saw kids today getting covering in mud and water that I never would have expected!” “I have a girl in my class and she freaks out whenever her mascara isn’t perfect, but today she was one of the kids out in the water getting filthy and looking for bugs! I’m so proud of her and happy that you guys gave her this opportunity!” I thanked the teacher, and asked her if there was anything that we could improve for a future field trip, and she responded by saying that everything went extremely well!
I hope we showed the kids something new, and I know that I took away a more positive perspective on educating youth!