TEEMS Member Reflections — Devin Dassaw
The end of the school year has finally arrived! It is a bittersweet time for the students, teachers, staff, and myself. Our second graders have ventured on to the next grade. It has been such a trying year and has culminated with the best of results. I have fallen in love with my site, Carter G. Woodson Elementary; the staff, teachers, administrators, and all of the children. I have witnessed much growth and development in all of my students, and that is something I am proud of.
Today on the last day of school, a kid asked me to go with them to the 3rd grade. It touched me to know I had that kind of impact on the child; an impact that goes beyond what any academic assessment could ever show. Though I cannot follow my students on the entire journey, I know the relationships I’ve built, the love that I’ve shown, and the impact that I’ve had on their lives will follow them. I had the opportunity to teach them lessons of respect that will carry them to adulthood. I set very high character expectations, to a point where they knew, “Mr. Dassaw doesn’t play!” Alongside the tough lessons, they also know I’m in their corner through my praise for their good works and great behavior, my congratulatory high-fives, and the smiles I give when they have made me proud. This year I have learned that children know when they are loved, even if you don’t realize how much love you’re showing. These kids were the joy of my year, and they made me smile every day.
This year was personally challenging with losing a loved one, battling financial obstacles, injury, sickness, and many other life trials. My service at Carter G. Woodson Elementary provided an awesome and loving place to escape; full of awesome kids who just wanted to be happy, loved, and appreciated. I enjoyed my service at Woodson so much that I hope to return next year through the GSU TEEMS AmeriCorps Program. Why? Because these kids are worth it! The faculty, staff and volunteers are worth it, and I’ve come to love it!