Mississippi River Delta - Education (Post 2)

Today we went to the school for the first time, ready for orientation and oodles of training.  The school, Carver Elementary in Indianola, MS, is a squat, multi-building'd campus that could've just plopped down from 1950s Mississippi. It has a brick exterior, cement supports and the flattest roofs you've ever seen. Also barbed wire around the parking lot, which was weird.

I went in the school with zero expectations since, as you may know, I am a senior at Mizzou and the last time I stepped into my alma mater, Eisenhower Elementary, it was to collect my Coolest 6 Grader Award from the principal. (Story validity not guaranteed.) Anyway, we met our supervisors Mrs. Beaman, Mrs. Kirkham, and Mrs. Barry of the School Improvement Grant program and got a tour of Carver, peeping into every classroom and waving at the kids. I'd say it's a 90% African American student body, which is really interesting and different for me, since I've grown up in majority of white communities for most of my life. I'm excited to get started teaching tomorrow, as it'll be a fun and completely new experience!

After the tour, we split up and joined our classrooms for the week, entering the proverbial lion's den of fourth, fifth and sixth graders that DO NOT SLOW DOWN. I introduced myself and the questions suddenly came at me like a barrage of arrows. "How old are you?" "Where are you from?" "What are your hobbies?" "Can I play you in basketball because I would totally beat you?" I kept up as well as I could, being the shiny new teaching assistant in the class before settling down in the back to observe a lesson.

The kids were restless and rowdy, clearly ready to bust out after a long Monday. While I worried a bit about behavior – my teacher consistently scolded a few kids and led them through some sort of punishment matrix – I was optimistic that I could set a good example and make a DIFFERENCE by Friday. That's the goal, let's get Tuesday going and hit the ground running.

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