Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Monday, April 5, 2010

Appreciating students and preparing for the service learning fair

Things for which I was grateful today:
  • The temperature was only 84...since we had no air conditioning at the university,
  • I awoke happy to be going to class even if I had to be there at 8, because I was teaching group skills and I love groups
  • Two graduate students thanked me for giving them feedback to improve their skills and told me how much they valued my help, even though I was "hard"
  • I channeled Lucius Walker in the undergraduate group class, and thanked them for bringing issues to light so that we could talk about them...and I found I really meant it. I saw amazing things happen with the students today
  • Gas was only $2.79 a gallon as I filled up on my way to Southaven for the night class
  • All the students made an A on the exam tonight!!!!!
Tomorrow is the Service Learning Fair, to showcase the work of those of us involved in service learning projects or service learning classes. I have my slide shows ready, the movie ready, the handouts ready, and the sign up sheets ready--for the throng of volunteers who will want to work in the Mississippi Delta this summer. I know this is going to happen, because the grad students today said they would love to have some of our summer class work in the Delta, and it fits right in with the class purpose. That is a whole lot better than sitting in a classroom for 8 hours on a Saturday.

I know the importance of text book learning, and research, and assignments, and application of knowledge--I do not minimize that or make light of it. But I also know that the doing in a real setting, and then reflecting on that, can teach us much. That is the whole objective of service learning: to be of service to a community, whilst at the same time, allowing the student to learn.

It's funny, but when I got the email late tonight that said we would be outside tomorrow, without electricity, I was momentarily concerned--oh, no, how long will the battery on my lap top last? Then I remembered all those times I engaged strangers, and communities, with no lap tops, no pictures, no fancy posters, nothing but my knowledge, skills, and values, and yet, accomplished the purpose. Suddenly, I was GRATEFUL for the opportunity to depend on myself and my social work knowledge and skill base, supplemented only slightly (and for as long as the battery lasts) for this 5 hour gig tomorrow. If I cannot convince someone of the importance of this work by what I share about it, and our vision for the community, I doubt that a fancy poster or power point presentation will do that either.

Vive no electricity!

Click here for update on the Poor People's Economic and Human Rights March kickoff in NOLA.

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