How Ten Months Will Impact My Lifetime


by Lianne Shields, Project Leader for Training and Evaluation

My year of service taught me some of the most important lessons of my life and it took being in third grade (again) to do so.

Lesson 1: Nothing is more important than your positive can-do attitude.

Especially when it comes to your work in the classroom, students can tell your moods, opinions, and thoughts without you even saying a word. If you show up with excitement and enthusiasm, regardless of the location or situation, it will spread to those around you.

Lesson 2: Empower those around you.

Giving students lots of opportunities to take ownership for their actions generated amazing responses. One of my most effective behavior management tools was finding something simple to let others take charge and I would sit back.

Lesson 3: Dare yourself.

I approached the physical service aspect of my service year with hesitation. Though I love painting, the thought of putting it somewhere prominent and permanent was daunting. However, the multitude of physical service opportunities that City Year offered me over the course of my service year made me realize that I am capable of much more than I believed.

Lesson 4: Don’t sweat the small stuff, but celebrate each small victory.

This job is hard. The goal of curbing the dropout rate is magnified when you place sixteen names, faces, and personalities to that reality. Every day will not have a breakthrough but counting ANY improvement is a way to stay motivated and focused throughout your service.

As a senior corps member I remember every day how much my first service year taught me and how my students inspire me to serve.

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Apply now to learn your own lessons from serving the students of Washington, DC: http://www.cityyear.org/dc

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