So the title kind of says it all, but here we go…
While I could not imagine remaining in this position for more than one year, I also could not imagine starting my future career without this experience. The RCSD is a huge organization that is working to educate the children of Rochester in the best way possible. Although the terminology used in the district’s mission and vision are different than this, that is the basis. So how has this experience changed my perspectives? I realized that in one way or another (or many ways) EVERYONE in the RCSD has this vision and mission in mind. Of course the district has its problems. Many of the solutions to these problems are still to be determined. But although there are some problems without reasonable solutions, one in such a position as mine can only focus on that for so long.
My supervisor always has “the kids” in mind. I put this in quotes because this is how he says it. Even if it seems like he forgets, the next thing out of his mouth will be a reference to the students and he will say how everything he does is for “the kids” and he wishes it was like that for everyone. The best part is-he means it. Although we can’t change the fact that not everyone in the district always thinks this way, we can attempt it. I have learned that it is so much more important to focus on what you can do and change rather than what you cannot. I know this is cliché, but the beginning of my year was full of learning how much the RCSD sucked. While this had a lot to do with the conversations I was listening to and how I was interpreting things, I feel like I made a shift about half way through my year. I began to think more about what I could change in my department and the schools I am working with. This is something I will take with me in the future and hope continue to have this perspective in all that I face in the future. My supervisor helped with this, therefore another perspective I gained was how important it is to be on the same side as your supervisor and how much this relationship can affect your work. Luckily in my case it was positive, but I know this to not always be true.
I know this blog sounds a little more like what I learned than how my perspectives have changed, but all of the things I learned changed and shaped my perspectives. I have so much more of an understanding of the way organizations are run. Yes, some might say the RCSD is not the best model organization or model educational system BUT it still provided me with so much insight and understanding into the HOW and the WHY. Although I do not agree with some decisions, knowing that there is a HOW and a WHY, that ideas and rules were not just drawn up from thin air, is important. I’m not sure about all of you but in the future I plan to work for an organization. Some sort of organization, large or small, I don’t know yet but I do know that most organizations have some sort of hierarchy. I had the opportunity to learn about a large organization with a lot of employees, so I would say this knowledge and understanding puts me a step ahead. Often school personnel do not have this knowledge, and although it is not essential, I think it will definitely be helpful! Being aware of what services are available directly through districts and in the community is great knowledge to have. Understanding the hierarchy and positions of power is something else I have come to learn and it is important knowledge I will carry with me no matter where I end up working in the future.
Overall I could not have asked for a better year of service. I have gained wonderful personal and professional relationships throughout this year, which will positively affect my future. Would I have liked to see more of a direct impact from my program? Of Course (I can’t wait to see what happens years 2 & 3!). Was I bored in my cubicle sometimes? Absolutely (why do you think this post is so long…). Would I want to sign on for another year of AmeriCorps VISTA? No Way (Couldn’t afford it). But what I have learned and will take away from this year is so much beyond what I am writing in this blog. I am proud to have served with Rochester Youth Year. I am proud to have done a year of service with AmeriCorps VISTA and I am proud to have served with the RCSD Department of Health, Physical Education, and Athletics.