Kristen Brenner: The Beginnings

Kristen Brenner, 11-13, De Marillac Academy, San Francisco, CA

Where did the first year go? I cannot believe that this is even possible, but I feel more excited this year than last. Now that the basics are under my belt, I am not worried about what it will be like and how can I help. I am focused on the particular things that I know I can do to help.

Last week was the first week of school with the students and tomorrow is the first real day of classes with the students. Since I gained a bit more responsibility this year, I will be more involved with the school. This year I will be teaching the 5th and the 8th grade. One aspect of my responsibilities is that I will be preparing the 8th grade for their transition into high school. I am extremely excited to be part of the 8th grade team to help them get into the private high school of their choice. I am willing to work with any student to raise their grade, help them apply, and help them on their entrance exam. This critical time will set them up for their future and I am so pleased to be a part in that.

Since I taught 5th grade last year, I feel really comfortable with the material and I am excited to make things more interesting this year. My plan is to get the students out of their seats more often. I want to introduce “Game Friday”. This will allow the students to learn the skill Monday-Thursday and then be able to apply it in a game on Friday of that same week. The new 5th grade class seems to be a great class so far and they seem like they are really ready to learn!

One thing that I found myself working on last year was stopping and reflecting. I have never really done this before last year. It is something that I think is essential for everyone. It is not something that comes easy, especially when work gets crazy, but it is something that is needed. I found that when I got tangled in my work or my busy schedule, I wasn’t recognizing the good I was actually doing. It is so easy to say that it is just a “job”. In reality though, I was helping young students on a daily basis in many different ways than just academics . At times last year when I gathered with the other LVs, I felt that my job wasn’t as helpful to society as theirs were. I knew that this wasn’t true, but that I was just not allowing myself to see how I was helping. I learned to not get caught up in the work itself and recognize what exactly is taking place. This year I am going to continue with this challenge of stopping and realizing what I am doing. In order to get the most out of this program, it is necessary to reflect on your service.

Kristen Brenner, 11-13, De Marillac Academy, San Francisco, CA

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