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I spent my time at North Madison Elementary School in Camby, Indiana, due

to a late start I had to do eight weeks of service learning in around six. However I
met all the hour requirements and checked off the checklist, fulfilling the
requirements. My teacher was Mrs. Nichole Moore and I taught in her Kindergarten
classroom. The school was called Elementary, but housed classrooms including
kindergarten and sixth grade, when I was in school kindergarten had its own
building, and sixth grade was rolled into middle school. The students were largely
from the surrounding area, however some did come from further away, if they were
partitioned into North Madison Elementary Schools particular school district. The
kids were mostly from lower-middle and lower class homes, and some didnt live
with either of their biological parents. A few students were absent several days as
they were still transitioning between relatives homes, the situations really broke my
heart, to see these young kids go through this, and have to see these things at such
a young age. I have no doubt that most of them have seen far more than I have, at
barely more than a fourth of my age, and that really moved me. These children still
showed up every day with the same smile and love for the world, as if they were
born into a time before God gave religion to man and left it up to him to figure out
what hate was. The environment from the moment I walked in never changed, it
was warm, loving and welcome. The teacher, Mrs. Nichole Moore, cared for these
kids deeply and it was apparent from the moment I walked in. I have a naturally
sardonic outlook on life, but these kids and this classroom changed that. They
taught me that even though I may not have a huge lasting impact on the world, I
had an impact on them the time I was there and that makes all the difference in the
world. I wont make the world a better place, but I made them smile and laugh and
that, that makes the world a better place. I may have been there to teach, but they

taught me, and its a lesson I wont soon forget. The environment did a great job at
bringing me back to my youth, and the activities reminded me of what it was like to
be young. They were fun activities but they also taught, and encouraged the kids to
play with each other.
The elements of diversity affected the learning and general accomplishments
of the students in the classroom I observed by putting kids of different learning
speeds together in tight groups, creating situations where kids were actually
teaching each other about what things were and how things were spelled and
pronounced. The classroom wasnt racially diverse as much as it was mentally and
economically diverse, the children came from a variety of economic backgrounds
and none of them learned at the same rate. Some kids caught onto a lesson before
it was even taught, others were still struggling with a lesson weeks after it had been
introduced. While the kids were broken into general learning speed groups for
lessons, they intermingled for study time, and that led to kids teaching kids how
things worked and how they were spelled and pronounced. Sometimes all it took
was an explanation from a peer for a certain kid to grasp the concept and flawlessly
perform from then on. It wasnt that the teacher didnt teach it well, its that the
lesson needed to be taught in the way that only a kid can teach it. From then on,
future lessons were much clearer to the children as they could relate everything to
the things their peers and classmates told and taught them. The diversity was not
without its own unique set of problems and challenges to overcome, however. There
were some kids who just could not grasp certain lessons, regardless of who taught it
to them or how it was taught. These kids simply needed more time than we could
allot to them and the lesson. More often than not, these kids were also the ones
absent a lot, due to their ever changing and unstable and uncertain home lives. This

connects well with the things we have talked about in class. Given the differences in
the way that they were brought up, one can expect differences in the way they
interact with what is being taught (Packard). We have gone over in great length,
the challenges and obstacles faced by mixed classrooms, though we usually went
over diversity in race and ethnicity, the challenges faced in this classroom were
differences in socio-economic diversity and diversity in learning speed. I feel like
this class did a lot to prepare me for service learning and for the greater world of
education abroad. Even as the classroom and location changes, the core lessons
learned here will be applied everywhere I go and in every classroom I teach in.
The cultural differences werent as apparent as the family differences in the
classroom. As previously touched on the kids come from radically different
backgrounds, so the way they were raised plays a large part into how they view the
importance of education. What I observed surprised me a great deal, almost all of
the kids loved school and the education they were getting. The longer I observed,
however, the more sense it made. School was a safe and stable place for the kids to
go, to see the same teacher and get a meal every day, before they went home to all
the uncertainty that awaited there. Only a few kids lacked an appreciation for the
value of education, and those were the ones rarely there, due to the ever shifting
home situation. Even with their respect of the value of education, many of the kids
from broken homes were the ones struggling with class and lessons, something
documented on a larger scale by Adetayo Olokuntoye in the research paper THE
EFFECT OF BROKEN HOME ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS. This
was a study conducted on a much grander scale but the principal still stands. Even
with all the enthusiasm and respect in the world, these kids simply lack the support
at home to continue their education. The teacher attempted to combat the lack of

support at home by showing complete and total unabridged support for them
wanting to learn materials and I absolutely accept this. She cant fill in for the lack
of strong support at home, but she does her best to mitigate its negative effects.
This site learning has done nothing but strengthen my resolve to become a
teacher, after seeing what a positive impact Mrs. Moore has had on these kids lives,
I want to do the same. These kids need someone to look up to and someone they
can go to talk to about anything. A strong, stable male figure in their lives to look up
to. I know it wont be like that everywhere, and this is shaped by my experience at
this one location, however after talking to some of the other staff there, it has
become apparent to me that there are many other places out there with even worse
problems. Those places need teachers who really care about the job and are
passionate about their line of work. A teacher not excited about their class could
never get others motivated to be excited about what they are teaching, and more
and more schools need passionate teachers. The interview I conducted with Kevin
Carter mirrors the things I have observed on my own; While there are internal and
external factors effecting the effectiveness of the school and classroom, it often
comes down to the ability and caring of the teacher to get kids excited about
learning, and to motivate them to do better in their studies, to push them to be
better than they were. A stagnant teacher will lead a stagnant class, and stagnant
classes rarely produce anything good.
In conclusion, this experience has been one of the most eye opening and
mindset changing experiences of my life, and the lessons I have learned here will
carry with me through the rest of my professional career and into the rest of my life.
No matter how short my time with these kids has been, they have impacted me in a
major way, and I honestly believe they left a larger impact on me than I did on

them; and I know I left an impact on them. The way they faced everything with
smiles and laughter drives and inspires me to be more, and to face things with the
optimism of a child, the world needs more of that.

Works Cited

Packard, J. (2012). The Impact of Racial Diversity in the Classroom. Teaching


Sociology.
Olokuntoye, A. (n.d.). THE EFFECT OF BROKEN HOME ON THE ACADEMIC
PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS. Academia.