Now that school is officially out for summer in New York City, the volunteers at Marcy led a reflection on the academic year this past Saturday. As the previous day marked the first day of summer vacation for our students, we started the water break asking, “How does everyone feel now that the school year has ended?”

“Happy!” the students shouted in unison--no surprise there! Summer’s onset is just about the most exciting time of the year for any child.

Even though our kids were expectedly thrilled to have temporarily escaped the woes of waking up early, being on their best behavior, doing homework etc., they agreed that the most recently completed school year was a good one, and spoke positively about their teachers.

Gary asked, “Who is your favorite teacher, and why do you consider him or her to be the best?” Their responses were varied, but it seemed like Science, Physical Education and English Language Arts teachers received the most votes. The most likeable teachers are those who dedicate the most time and energy helping students get through difficult topics, the kids explained. Conversely, we explored what actions make a good student, either in school or at KCTL, to encourage appreciation for a learning relationships from both perspectives.

As a group exercise, we asked a few kids to pretend to be “teachers,” while the rest listened as “students.” The teachers led a tennis lesson by demonstrating proper technique for groundstrokes.

Afterwards, we asked the teachers how it felt to stand in front of the “class” to educate students about an assigned topic. They said that they felt nervous at first, but soon became relaxed and confident about the experience. Our exercise was a success! The kids understood the effort required to successfully teach a class. We closed out with a discussion about who would like to become a teacher someday before returning to rallying.