This past week was my second week with Onondaga Nation School. On Monday I did not do as much as I thought. Mackenzie, the after-school program direction told me that she was implementing many new rules so again this week she would just like me to observe and act as any other teacher in their after-school program. She did not want to push too much at one time. The students did not have much time in the gymnasium either day that I was there because the days was shorter than normal. All students from grades 4-8 were in the gymnasium at the same time, and filled in as they finished their homework in the cafeteria.
At first, when it was just the older students (grade 7-8) I noticed that not many of the students wanted to participate. The other teachers and I spoke with the students and let them pick the game that they wanted to play so we would hopefully see more participation. The students picked to play dodgeball again. However, many of the boys did begin to participate, but the girls seemed to hide to the side of the gym. Once the younger students came in everyone began to participate. I did not agree that it was safe to have 4th graders and 8th graders playing dodgeball together, but as I brought it up to the other teachers they did not seem to care as much. All they said they would do was tell the older students not to throw as hard as they can at the younger students. I was extremely surprised by this reaction because even though this is an after-school program, it is still at school, and if they do not care for the students, they should at least want to make it a safe environment so that when one of those students gets injured, they can save themselves from a lawsuit.
I spoke with a few of the students, and they asked me if next week I can come up with games like dodgeball that they can all play together that would not involve the boys pegging the girls with the dodgeballs. I told them I would look up a few different games for them and see how they work. I expressed if I cannot find a dodgeball-like game, I would find something else that they can all ply together, or in smaller groups.
This experience so far as been extremely different than any other experience I have had this far. I am happy to see some of the students beginning to warm up to me, as the first week they seemed to look at me as an outsider because I do not live in Onondaga territory. I am going to introduce a few new games this week, and hope that all students including the older boys with accept them so I can help decrease the amount of dodgeball played in their after-school program.