Luis Ochoa-Lopez, Communications and Evaluations Intern
When I heard that CFJC was invited to present a workshop to 3rd graders at the local Cleveland Elementary School, I thought this could be a great opportunity to familiarize myself with how to present to a difference type of audience. This would be the first time I would be part of a presentation to little kids. On a similar note for Courtney and Jessy, this would be the youngest age group for whom they presented a workshop. Courtney and Jessy did have previous experience presenting at Elementary schools, however, so they had an idea of what to expect at Cleveland Elementary. I on the other hand was going into this situation blind and I had no idea what to expect, other than that it was going to be inside a classroom and it was going to be loud.
Once we arrived at Cleveland we were told to wait by the side gate, where a group of students would take us to where the class was. The first problem was that we did not find the side gate, so we just walked through the front school entrance and met up with the student search party. It turned out that we were to present in the cafeteria and not inside a classroom. This meant that each and every sound would be amplified, thanks to the acoustics of the cafeteria. When we took our position on stage I looked over at our young audience and saw that the majority were African Americans, with the remainder a mix of Asians, Latinos, and Caucasians. I also noticed that the majority of the front row were Asians students; feeding the notion that Asian students do better academically when compared to other races. After everyone introduced each other and shared what their favorite food is we began the presentation.
Things were going smoothly until we got to the first activity, when it seemed the whole place erupted. Kids began hitting each other with clipboards, other students refused to do the activity, while other students were asking for a different pencil. It was a challenge just getting them transitioned from activity to activity, as the four adults including the teacher were just not enough to manage 35+ students.
What I learned from this experience is that you have to be adaptive, and to be ready for anything when working with 3rd grade students. I think it is likely that as you gain more experience with this age group the more natural working with them will become. Also, I learned that that I do not have the patience to become a teacher.