I interned at Sesame Flyers Bildersee Beacon (SFBB) located at Isaac Bildersee Intermediate School in Brooklyn, New York. It accommodates participants ranging from grades kindergarten through eighth. The participants come from different schools. The building is equipped with an auditorium, gymnasium, cafeteria, classrooms, nurse’s office, and bathrooms.
There are many after school programs throughout New York City. These programs were established to help working parents, who could not attend to their children when they are released from school. These after school programs ensure nutritionist meals, homework assistance and extra-curricular activities.
You cannot expect to run an after school program unless you are equipped to handle the needs of the students. The staff has to be knowledgeable in several areas. The students’ are relying on the teachers and staff to protect them. The students’ safety and health is the number one priority to SFBB.
On September 21, 2009, I started my internship at SFBB. My supervisor was Mrs. LaTanya Dailey. I was excited to intern at SFBB because I work at Isaac Bildersee Intermediate School during the day. My responsibilities included ensuring nutritionist meals were eaten before the start of after school activities. Supervise and implement a structured activity with participants’ grades kindergarten through first. Assist with homework in all academic subjects. I also implement extra-curricular activities upon completion of their homework.
Prior to my first day at work, I was surprised to find that I was feeling anxious. My anxiety was based on a fear that there might be little or no structure, searching for assignments and feeling generally uncomfortable with my new situation. I was nervous because it was something I had never done before. Mrs. Dailey assigned me six students, three boys and three girls, Mikal 5, Kevin 6, Jamal 5, Cassandra 5, Mikaya 5, and Shatera 6. Mrs. Dailey who has known me for the past five years from working in the same building knew it would be something I could handle. It was an experience that taught me to be open to trying new things.
As the intern, I made sure all of my students did art projects, read books, played games, and participated in group activities. It made the classroom a fun place and kept them interested in learning. I allowed the students to pick where they sat because I wanted them to feel comfortable.
A typical day started at 3:00 p.m. I would greet my students and escort them to the cafeteria to eat a nutritionist meal before we go to our assigned classroom. At 4:00 p.m., we are in our classroom. I assisted with their homework when needed. Each classroom has three adults, eighteen students, and is assigned an activity, which changes on a daily basis. Free time in the gymnasium, African dance in the auditorium, arts and crafts projects, board games, and book read-aloud. By 6:00 p.m., most children have been picked up.
“As the student, it is to your advantage to learn as much as possible about the agency and the way it serves its clientele”, (4th Ed., p 47). I learned that the agency, and its service’s to their clientele are exceptional. An organization like this is much needed in our communities. With more and more children growing up in homes with two working parents or a single parent, today’s families can benefit from the safe, structured learning opportunities that after school programs and their agencies provide.
After school hours are a critical time for both parents and our students. It can represent either an opportunity to learn and grow through quality after school programs and their agencies, or a time of risk to our student’s health and safety. These after school hours are at the peak time for juvenile crime and risky behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse. Most experts agree that after school programs offer a healthy and positive alternative. These programs keep kids safe, improve academic achievements and help relieve the stresses on today’s working families.
After school programs also can help to improve the academic performance of participating children. For many children, their reading and math scores have improved, in large part because after school programs allow them to focus attention on areas in which they are having difficulties. Many programs connect learning to be more relaxed and enriching activities, thereby improving academic performance as well.
After school programs also contribute to raising children’s self-confidence as well as academic performance. Both teachers and parents report that children who participate in after school programs develop better social skills and learn to handle conflicts in more socially acceptable ways. Children indicate that they have higher aspirations for their future, including greater intentions to complete high school and attend college.
Families able to enroll their children in good programs indicate that their children are safer and more successful in school. These families also develop a greater interest in their child’s learning. In addition, children develop new interests and skills and improve their school attendance.
In many cases, communities have come together to improve the availability of after school programs. Partnerships among schools, local governments, law enforcement, youth and community based organizations, social and health services, and businesses have resulted in a number of high qualities after school programs. These partnerships foster a great volunteer spirit and provide opportunities for parents and other adults to participate in program activities.
From school to school, neighborhood to neighborhood, community to community, and every after school program is different. Successful programs respond to community needs; their creation is the result of a community effort to evaluate the needs of its school age children when school is not in session.
For many children in neighborhoods across America, after school programs provide a structured, safe, supervised place to be after school for learning, fun, and friendship with adults and peers alike. Quality after school programs can provide safe, engaging environments that motivate and inspire learning outside the regular school day. While there is no one single formula for success in after school programs, both practitioners and researchers have found that effective programs combined academic, enrichment, cultural, and recreational activities to guide learning and engage children and youth in wholesome activities. They also find that the best programs develop activities to meet the particular needs of the communities they serve.
All programs need staff who are qualified and committed, have appropriate experience and realistic expectations, and can interact productively with regular school staff.
Mrs. Dailey helps ensure that the after school program provides high quality services that meet the needs of program staff, students and families. Effective administrators develop strong relationships with schools and community partners.
“During the course of a semester, many students experience anxiety from having to struggle too many roles and demands simultaneously”, (4th Ed., p 54). I felt as a single working parent that being organized made it easier to juggle the additional roles of being a student, and a practicum intern. There was three items that I used in developing organizational skills: a day-by-day calendar, a pocket size notebook, and a daily to-do list. I use my calendar to record all appointments, deadlines, and crucial events. In my notebook, I’d jot down errands and tasks I need to do as they occur. On my to-do list, I’d jot what must be done in order for me to accomplish my goals as a parent, a student, and as a practicum intern.
I was still struggling with being a student, parent, and practicum intern. I had to also rearrange my schedule at home. It was not easy with this additional role for my family and me. At this point in my life I did not think I could handle all these roles simultaneously with their demands. I knew it was time that my children had to help. They had to take on more responsibilities, now that I was starting my internship.
My children agreed with the new changes that I was about to bestow on them. They were up to the challenges of being more independent that came along with their new responsibilities. With their help and understanding I was hopeful that maybe I can take on my additional roles and their demands. It was hard in the beginning to make this work for my family and me. With time I knew it had to get better.
As the weeks went on as the parent, student, and practicum intern the anxieties that I was feeling subsided due to the organizational skills I have acquired and practiced. Also, I could not have done it without my children’s support and help around the house. It was no longer a struggle to juggle too many roles with their demands simultaneously.
“Noncompliance is very frustrating, particularly when the client seems to be relating well with you, owns up to the problem, agrees with the plan to do something about the problem, but fails to keep appointments or does not complete expected tasks”, (4th Ed., p 92). Kevin, six years old, refused to do his homework and wanted to run around the classroom instead. He disrupted others while they were doing their homework. When I approach him about his behavior, he understands what he is doing is wrong. He promises he will not do it again. He would do this everyday. I became frustrated because when I would talk to him, he would make me feel that he wouldn’t do it again. Kevin greets me everyday with a hello and a smile. He gets along with his peers and staff. Everyday I would greet him with a hello and a smile and reminded him what he promised me. I thought that making the children monitors for certain things would help Kevin to follow instructions better. Everyone had a responsibility that they were in charge of. His behavior started to improve everyday. After two weeks Kevin was able to complete expected tasks without any problems. My frustrations diminished.
“For your own mental health and well being, do not take client and agency problems home with you”, (4th Ed., p 153). I’ve learned that it is best to keep work and home separate. By the end of the workday, you are tired, and/or frustrated, and/or even stressed from a long day. You have to go home and start a different role. Your family needs your full attention. I remember when I used to take my frustrations from the workplace and into my home. I would yell at my children for the littlest of things. They didn’t know why I would be so angry with them all of the time. I was stressed from working all day and then have to come home and start dinner, check homework, etc. By the time everything was completed, it was time to start it all over again. I knew I had to change because it was tearing my family and me apart.
This is how it all changed. I would come home and greet my kids with a hello and a kiss. I would ask my children how their day was and they would ask me how mine was. We would chat for about a half hour. Then they would resume their homework while I prepared dinner. I felt relaxed and more at ease with myself. Instead of coming home and starting the same routine, I changed it.
“From time to time even most seasoned professionals wonder if they have chosen the right vocation”, (4th Ed., p 158). I was a secretary for many years. I knew I didn’t choose my right vocation. I always wanted to work with children. After ten years of working for one company I knew I had to change my profession. I decided to apply for a position with the Department of Education (DOE). They had openings for Crisis Intervention Paraprofessionals.
I started working for the DOE five years ago. I knew I had to go back to college to get degree to further my career. I immediately enrolled with Touro College for Applied Studies. I decided three years ago that I want to help children with their problems. I am currently in school acquiring a degree in Human Services. By the end of my internship and by continuing with my education I will have chosen my right vocation, receiving a master’s degree in becoming a Guidance Counselor within the DOE.
My supervisor, Mrs. Dailey was helpful to me during my internship. She was always eager to answer all my questions I had. I felt comfortable speaking with her. I knew I could approach her at any time, and she would stop what she was doing to show me, she always gave me her full attention. She always treated me as an equal staff member.
I learned that being a teacher and supervisor to my students is a lot harder than I thought. I had to make the class fun, interesting and comfortable. My students had no problem voicing their opinions on what they didn’t like. We decided as a group what arts and crafts projects would be done, what books would be read, and what board games would be played. I felt involving the students showed them that their opinions mattered to me.
The staff members treated me with respect and kindness. They gave me advice and included my students in projects and parties. They offered me help without me asking for it. We worked well as a team and knew we could count on each other.
The students were friendly and happy to welcome me. If I saw them outside of SFBB, they would come up to me to say hello. I looked forward to volunteering each week. It was a wonderful environment to work in because of the staff and the students.
I really enjoyed working with the children very much, and of course Mrs. Dailey as well. I learned a lot about things like teaching arts and crafts projects, assisting with the homework, and doing the other extra-curricular activities. I think that this type of internship work was very beneficial.
I do not regret for one second taking part in this internship. I am very thankful to have been able to do something such as this, and I believe it helped me to narrow my mind in the decisions I will make for my future in college. It was definitely a good start to broadening my horizons.