At Citizen Schools, no role is more essential to the success of our students than that of the AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow. Citizen Schools National Teaching Fellows create extraordinary enrichment and academic support experiences for underserved students across our nation. On a daily basis, Fellows deepen connections between schools and parents, help to develop social-emotional skills through mentoring and coaching students, and facilitate hands-on learning opportunities through our apprenticeships.
You must do the thing that you cannot do
By Brittney Davis
"You must do that thing you think you cannot do.” I berate myself for my fear it’s too late I’m here in front of 30 young minds, it’s time they’re ready for me to cultivate to support to relate to help push them through. I step into the class, visions of winners, of champions, before me: let’s begin. I don’t know, (you do) I don’t get it, (try again) failure is not an option in this class. You are somebody, you were born somebody and with my help you will be a better somebody. Cry if you must hate me sometimes you will but know this: when we are through you will be ready. ready to build that ship, ready to cross the oceans ready to set sail to your new destiny remember this courage is the ability to push past the fear in me… in me you must believe, together we will set free all those voices inside, the voices that lied that didn’t tell you how powerful you are how wonderful how beautifully made how you are the difference that brings about change. Young child don’t be afraid to strut your stuff because trust me you are more than enough. Courage spun into your lips, power in your mind, talent laced at your fingertips, strength etched in your spine. Know that you will go far, you are special, amazing and this is true: there is no one else better at being you, than you.
Brittney is a Teaching Fellow at Carter G. Woodson South Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois.
Why did you decide to become an AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow?
I love this idea of giving back, of helping others. I have often known that helping others was what inspired me. Too often we grow up in a society that tells us that we are not good enough, not smart enough, not talented etc. Those voices shape and mold who we become. I didn’t want to live in a world where students didn’t see value in themselves, so what better way for me to be that positive change in their life than to teach them how to believe in a world of possibilities?
What has been one of the most transformative moments of your service?
One of the most amazing moments for me came from an 8th grade student I had last year. We had an Extremely rocky relationship in the beginning to say the least, with a lot of push back from her because she didn’t want my support. By the end of the year she had found out she wouldn’t get to graduate with her class and would have to complete summer school. She was devastated, and afraid to tell her family, she came to me for support. I just remember in that moment telling her to remember this is an opportunity for her to make a difference but it’s up to her and she later invited me to her graduation and thanked me . I literally couldn’t have been more proud.
How has service changed you and your perspective of the world?
One motto that I live by is this idea that the job of a freed person is to free someone else. I truly try to embody that. Service or this idea of helping others, doesn’t have a bias. It only focuses on knowing that what you possess your smile, your, thoughts, your laughter is enough to make a difference in someone else’s life so it’s up to you to share that. We have to get back to this mindset that it takes all of us together to make the impact that we desire to see. I know service can be stressful, but we have to keep the big picture in mind that we are here to challenge and break barriers.