This article had some pretty valid ideals concerning service learning in America and what it means to not only the community but also to the people that help out. As everyone who reads this is aware, our service learning is a huge part of our curriculum, and speaking for myself, it is the best part of my week. The idea that I can make a difference in the community is exactly what service learning is all about. It's the most rewarding part of the process and the lessons that it gives is integral to the development of aspiring teachers. It also brings invaluable experience in dealing with situations that you may not think of normally.
What I mean by that is every student has a different story, and with that different living situations they deal with on a daily basis. Some people have a bad habit of seeing the "troubled" child as someone who just doesn't want to learn. However, much of the time that is not the case at all. Sometimes if a student is labeled as "troubled" right off the bat then they just won't want to learn from that instructor plain and simple. There are also the cases where a teacher won't try to relate to every individual student and that creates a disconnect in the learning process. By going through the process of Service Learning, we as students can identify these problems in a real time scenario. The real enlightening thing is when you can identify when a teacher is having one of those disconnect moments and remember not to do what they do.
This isn't about criticizing the teacher you are put with constantly though, it's merely just a learning experience for people like us in a real environment. With service learning we are able to ease ourselves into a classroom, and instead of having a whole class alone, we have just a small group of students while the teacher of the class has the majority. I can personally say I'm beginning to feel very comfortable in that environment because of this. It's just not as overwhelming when you only have about four or five kids to pay attention to rather than about twenty as your first experience in a classroom. My major thing I want to get out of Service Learning would be to avoid the aforementioned "not learning from you" moments, after all the main reason I decided to go into teaching was because of my experiences with that as a student. To be able to identify when I could be losing a student is just so important to what I want to do and who I want to be. Thanks to Service Learning, I'm understanding what to do and what not to do more and more week after week.