Thursday, October 4, 2012

When work isn't really work

Do you have any traditional school events that you participate in and look forward to every year? I do. It's my school's Field day!!!

Normally, events like Field day occur toward the end of the year versus at the beginning of the year but I teach at a private Christian school and we do a lot of things different than how other schools do it. Field day is one of those things. For us? Field day happens within the first month or so of the school year and it is a REALLY BIG DEAL. But before I explain how and why it is a big deal, here is a little bit of background in order to fully explain field day.

I, along with every other faculty/staff member, serve as a mentor to a group of 10-12 students (usually same sex until senior year when there are mixed groups). The group is comprised of the same 9th-11th grade students year after year and I meet with them once a week (the time is within the class schedule) in order to connect personally with them and just generally form a solid (closer) bond/friendship within the school community. Basically, it's like the idea of a homeroom or advisory class/group but on a whole lot more personal level. I am permitted and encouraged to share my testimony of faith with them, guide them through devotionals and scripture study, lead them in prayer as informed by their requests or notations of gratitudes, in addition to just serve as an older (and wiser?) individual in case they are having challenges of any sort - whether personal or academic.

(OK. Now I can explain Field day a little bit better!)

My school does Field day at the beginning of the year instead of the end because it is intended to serve as a bonding experience for each mentor group from the get-go. Each mentor group competes against other mentor groups and team-building/oriented type activities (rather than just competing grade against grade) AND each mentor group also dresses by a group-decided-upon theme! My group has always been Team Elle Woods (like from Legally Blonde) because of my last name and also because it's meant to be kind of silly and fun and funny since I am far from girly and frilly the way the Legally Blonde Elle Woods is known to be. The point of dressing up though is to be a little crazy so my group of girls (who were deliberately matched to me and my personality) and I have great fun dressing up head-to-toe in pink, purple, and all things super girly.

So. That's basically Field day. And we just had ours recently and it was SO much fun. This year was even more fun though because they changed things up and added a community service component to the front half of the day where each mentor group worked together for a few hours in the local surrounding communities to be good stewards of our time and talents and help out in ways that others might have really needed it! My group was able to have the great blessing to work at a local playschool center finishing a mural that was in desperate need of more hands and feet to finish it! Here is my group hard at work...

This was the first year that we did a morning of service before an afternoon of pure fun and silliness but the service morning was such a hit that we are absolutely going to be doing it again next year. The other day I did some debriefing with my mentor girls and they said that even though the service morning as a lot of work and really tired them out by the time the afternoon rolled around, they really REALLY loved putting their hands, feet, and hearts to work at helping to lift up our surrounding communities.


  1. I love the idea of doing field day at the beginning of the year instead of the end. It is so nice to have a chance to spend nonacademic time with students. Some kiddos are like totally different human beings when they are transplanted outside of the school environment. This was such a positive post and I am glad I found your blog.

    1. Thanks so much for this affirming comment! Good point about how different students are when they are taken out of the school environment. I have visited your blog and I am adding it to the bloglist/blog friends feed here on my site! Thanks for finding me first!

  2. That mentoring program is a wonderful idea. I wish that kind of guidance was important enough inpublic school to be made a priority In the schedule. A lot of students would really benefit.

    1. Ashley - I had the opportunity to observe a whole day of a middle school pretty close to my house that is just a "stone's throw" from the line of the DC public school districts and it is not a far cry from what is classically known as inner city in the way it works. The school counselor is one of my good friends and I had a wonderful but heartbreaking conversation with her at the end of the day about how guidance in public schools ends up despite what it wishes it could and should be. You are SO correct to point out that it is not a priority and it should be because of the great benefits of it. :(


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