November 15, 2017
This month, Julie writes about how she was able to help one of her students see more clearly.
When I first began working with United Way’s Every Student, Every Day, I knew creating working connections and relationships with staff was critical to my success. My supervisor introduced me to every teacher, as well as other school staff, such as the school nurse and the afterschool program coordinator. I also spoke with the teachers of the students on my caseload in depth with them about their perceptions of my students’ needs and challenges, which includes things like not having enough food, clothes, reliable transportation to school, among many other challenges. All of these issues make it harder for students to focus on learning. My colleagues were helpful and welcoming, taking time to work with me whenever I needed their expertise. Teachers even cut their lunch breaks short to speak with me.
I noticed one of my students would often squint and get distracted in class. After speaking with her teacher, I found out she needed glasses, a process that had been ongoing for a year, yet she still didn’t have the glasses she needed. I used the relationships I had built with the school counselor, my student’s teacher, and the school nurse to gain insight about the situation and connect my family to the resources they needed for their student. Today, she happily flaunts a new pair of glasses, but even, more importantly, she’s no longer distracted because she can see.
This is what my role as an Every Student, Every Day intern means: supporting children outside the classroom so they can be successful inside the classroom.