Final Internship Reflections: Crystal
The Last Day: The last day of my science class was supposed to be the perfect farewell. My students were supposed to enjoy homemade ice cream and select prizes after weeks of saving tickets. It was my seventh week as a science teacher and I was still expecting the day to go as planned. My seventh class was by far the most chaotic, with supplies running low and all sorts of liquids seeping through kids’ fingertips. Once I took a closer look, however, I noticed some miraculous moments. I heard kids shouting with excitement as volunteers poured vinegar onto baking soda. I spotted volunteers giving instructions to make slime and kids responding with precision. While the day continued to be filled with mishaps and mayhem, I found relief in the fact that a number of kids were truly enjoying themselves. It was already an honor to be called teacher, but being told “Thank you so much” and “I will miss this class” was such a humbling experience. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the students who had opened up their minds to science and the volunteers who had dedicated their time to the class. I even had a few parents stay afterward to help me clean up. It was far from perfect, but I could not have asked for a better last day.
Lessons Learned: I started my internship at Kingdom Causes as a high schooler with no formal teaching experience and little to no idea of what community development entailed. It took a leap of faith for me to seize this opportunity and take advantage of the freedom I had been given. I could simply complete the assigned tasks or devote my time to making a class that would benefit the youth of Bellflower. I wanted to motivate the kids to be fully engaged in their education and be curious about the world around them. Although I never specifically stated this goal to my students, I attempted to provide a learning environment where they could utilize their creativity and acquired knowledge to build something all their own. I could congratulate myself for a job well done, but at the day there was something bigger than me at work. I was simply responding to the needs of the community and loving my city the best way I knew how. Thank you Kingdom Causes for giving me that opportunity.
Looking Forward: As my internship comes to a close, I become more and more certain that I have obtained valuable skills and unforgettable experiences along my journey. I was able to connect with my students, my co-workers, and my city. Establishing these relationships was my favorite part of this internship. I opened my heart to the community and they opened their heart to me. With this also came letting go of pride, ego, and sometimes control. At first I was uncomfortable with the chaos, but then I realized a small dose can be necessary (especially when you put science and kids together). My internship began with saying goodbye to a much beloved community leader. My internship ended with saying hello to a new executive director and a future of being invested in my community.