Inspiring Students – This Year & Beyond
Interview with Christina
K-3 Reading Corps Member
Christina is a 3rd year MEC member with a strong desire to help disadvantaged individuals within her community to reach their fullest potential. A psychology major now in her senior year of studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, Christina first joined MEC in the 2018-2019 school year. After completing her bachelor’s degree, Christina aspires to obtain her Master’s in Counseling, with the hope that one day she will be able to bring hope and healing to children and teens who have experienced trauma. In her free time, Christina enjoys cooking, reading and playing the piano.
What initially inspired you to serve with Michigan Education Corps? I have always enjoyed working with kids in general and wanted to play a role in closing the achievement gap. I became aware of the growing number of children in Michigan who were not reading at grade level by third grade and wanted to do my part to help.
What skills have you developed or strengthened during your service term? As a Reading Corps interventionist, I have to manage a caseload of 15 students on a daily basis. In order to be successful at this, I had to learn time management and organizational skills along the way. Serving in a school environment, where there are various interruptions and opportunities to work with staff and students from different backgrounds and of differing personalities, also gave me the opportunity to become more flexible and adaptable in different situations.
What brings you the most joy during your service days? While it is great to see my students’ assessment scores increase over time, my greatest joy comes from seeing my students’ confidence levels and love for reading increase overtime. The pride that my students have after seeing that they accomplished their goal is priceless, and the love for reading that results is something that I hope will continue to inspire them long after our time together has come to an end.
What strategies have you used to engage students and get them excited about Reading? I have tried various strategies over the past few years to get my students excited about reading. I try to pick passages and relate the words that come up during practice with things I know the students’ are interested in. When we were in person, I also gave my students rewards such as stickers, candy or small toys when they reached a goal on their sticker sheet. It helps my students stay engaged when I communicate that I am excited about our time together and offer consistent praise and motivation for their hard work as well.
Has your service experience impacted you in unexpected ways? I think my service has opened my eyes even further to the challenges and barriers that many students and families in my community face on a daily basis. Even though I grew up in the city of Detroit and attended public school here like most of the students I work with, I had no idea of the level of poverty and other traumas that many students face. Serving made me want to get more involved in my community in order to help tear down these barriers and help those who have been in these situations to succeed.
How will you use your service experiences to achieve future goals? I will take the skills I have learned serving as an interventionist with MEC and apply them as I work with clients in my counseling practice one day. The time management and organizational skills I have learned will better help me to prepare for clients in my practice and to balance managing a caseload of numerous clients with my other responsibilities. The experience I gained working with children and staff will allow me to respond with more sensitivity and adaptability in my interactions with the clients and professionals I work with.
Is there anything else you want to share about your service experience? I am excited to be able to serve again with MEC and look forward to all the progress we will make with our students this year!