Today’s blogger is Alisa Dwyer, a corps member on the P.S. 83 Bain & Co Team.
If there’s one thing that’s central to the work that we do at City Year New York, it’s the strong culture surrounding “the team”. The team is a self-sustaining unit. It is concerned with humility, understanding and unrelenting patience. It rejects ego and indifference. Above all things, the team is vital to the City Year mission and ultimately a necessary function for inspiring a culture of idealism within our school and within our students.
The majority of my undergraduate education readily prepared me for the concept of “teamwork”. Although it’s a common understanding that “group project” are not the most celebrated words in a co-ed’s vocabulary, I attempted to start my City Year with a fresh, untainted appreciation of the term. In truth, much of BTA seemed like educational boot camp preparing us for the unveiling of “the teams”. We knew that each school site had their own team and we knew that the early relationships formed with your teammates could make or break your work within your school. Thus, it’s safe to say that team reveal day was an unnerving experience for a group of newly minted CMs. There we stood, in a humid, un-air-conditioned auditorium somewhere in Queens, trying to visualize the upcoming corps year with this group of diverse new friends. Looking back on this moment now, it all seems a bit surreal and almost comical that we ever worried about our abilities to function together as a unit.
To say that I would be utterly lost without my team would be a severe understatement. My service would be both incomplete and insufficient without their daily presence. When I look at the people that make up my team, I find an abundance of perspectives, cultural backgrounds and ideas. Whether we are discussing best practices for behavior management implementation or sneaker-wedges as a viable footwear option in New York City, I find myself constantly challenging my perceptions (I’m still not sold on the sneaker wedges). Surrounded by a dynamic circle of passionate and motivated individuals, I am able to recognize where I stand to grow as an educator, as a social justice advocate and as a gentle and compassionate human being.
That is not to say that there will not be challenging days or weeks or times when the sheer enormity of the task at hand overshadows the importance of collaboration. At the end of the day, however, we are all united in the fight for educational justice for our students: on this front we are unwavering.
I would like to introduce you to my team: Mitchell, Rachel, Akeliah, Quandisha, Jackie, Martin, Kayla, Gaby, Jermaine and Christian. Two short months ago these names were strange to me. Now they belong to the faces of my City Year and I could not be more proud to be serving alongside them this year on the Bain & Co. Team at PS83 in East Harlem.