Monday, October 28, 2013

Onondaga Nation School's First Experience!

During week one at Onondaga Nation School I observed the students. One day one the students seemed to be a bit resistant towards me because they knew I was not apart of their culture and they thought that meant I knew nothing about them. Upon arriving, I spoke with the after-school program director, and she made me feel extremely comfortable right away. We prepared snack for the students and spoke about she expects from me and asked me what I expected from the program. I explained that I wanted to expand my knowledge of the culture of these students and wanted to invite them to learn more about mine. After we prepared snack we went down to the gymnasium where the first group of students came and introduced themselves to me. Two of the boys looked at me and immediately said, "Just so you just because we have long hair doesn't mean we are girls. We are boys, so please do not mistake us." I assume that this can be a common mistake for people who are not of their culture, however I was a bit surprised because I knew before they had said anything that they were boys, or at least assumed so because of the clothing they were wearing.

Besides the one interaction with the two boys no other students seemed to pass judgement on me because I was someone new and was not of their culture. However, many of the teachers that worked the after-school program were very quick to pass judgement. A few did not want anything to do with speaking with me. I spoke with a few of the teachers, and one explained to me that it is because I did not grow up in their culture, they assume I am here just for a few weeks, and would never want anything to do with it again. Although my experience may only last a few weeks, I most certainly am not their to treat them any different than any other teachers that I work with in any observations.

The experience from week one was eye opening so far. I was very happy with the students as they were very active, and by choice. In this after-school program the students have a choice to participate in physical activity or sit with their teachers on the side. Only one student sat in the two days I was there and this was because she was injured. One thing I would like to do with the after-school program is shy them away from dodgeball games. The teachers seem to give this to the students because it is a simple game that they can just throw the balls out, then sit on the side and watch rather than play an active role in student engagement. I would like to introduce other games that the students will enjoy that does not involved them to peg each other. One girl got hit in the face with a kickball, and the next day expressed to me that she did not want to participate in the dodgeball game because she did not want to get hit again, and that she did not like playing with the boys because they throw too hard. I ended up playing different games with her on the side to keep her active, but get her away from the general dodgeball game going on.

I am excited to continue my experience with Onondaga Nation School. On Mondays in the after-school program I told the students I would like to be engaged in games that they enjoy playing and on Tuesdays each week I will prepare a different game to introduce to them. I only get each group for up to 20 minutes each day, so it is a short period of time, but I hope to introduce some fun games that they will continue to play even after my experience is over.