Eleanor Humphrey works at Marian Middle School, a school that serves adolescent girls of all religious, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. From Marian's mission statement: "We are committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by fostering comprehensive development as a foundation for college readiness."
What have you been doing at your placement?
I work at Marian Middle School as the Language Arts Teaching Assistant and spend most of my time with the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Language Arts classes. I observe class, lead small group activities, tutor, teach, and grade classwork. The rest of my time is spent supervising recess, serving as librarian, proctoring study hall, and helping out with choir. As a volunteer at Marian, I’ve benefited from the awesome opportunity to try many different aspects of middle school education. One of the projects that I’m currently working on with 6th grade is a writing portfolio project in which each student presents 3-4 pieces of polished writing that she has been working on all quarter.
What is one thing you love about community living?
The conversations. Choosing to live intentionally is a difficult but extremely fruitful choice that opens up all kinds of ideas, questions, and thoughts. Exploring those with my housemates has been wonderful!
What has been one surprise, challenge or learning this year?
Learning to function at Marian as a leader and an mentor/instructor as opposed to a student has definitely been the most challenging. I always need to put great effort into my language (verbal and nonverbal!) to ensure that I’m directive and clear.
What do you value about your relationship with the Loretto Community?
Being close to the Loretto community has expanded the way I understand the meaning of a “spiritual life” because I have so many models to learn from and stories to hear. Witnessing the way the Loretto Community embraces a range of spiritual practices has been an inspiration for me to reimagine my own spiritual life.
What advice do you have for someone considering doing a year of service?
Explore ALL of your options and figure out what your non-negotiables are (it’s okay to have them). There are many year-long volunteer programs and they are all a little different. Figure out which details are most important to you - the work, the location, the people, etc - and stick to your priorities.
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