Omar Varela | Barnard Elementary

Since the beginning of the school year I have been working at Barnard Elementary with a class of 4th and 5th graders. It has been one of the best experiences that I have had since arriving at AU. While I am at Barnard I help students with their homework and also assist in a class about nutrition. This often means reviewing lessons on fractions, double checking multiplication problems, talking about what the word “organic” means, and explaining that dairy will make compost smell bad.

Walking into a classroom and being greeted with hugs from students that I have helped throughout the semester is always the best part of my day. As the year has progressed I am constantly astonished by the enormous amount of growth that I have seen in each child. They work extremely hard to complete their assignments and make sure that have at least a little bit of fun while they get their work done.

I am connecting CSLP with my course, College Writing: Decoding Social Justice. Reading about social justice issues as I work with the students at Barnard has provided me with so much knowledge that has helped me understand the larger picture of what I am doing. Barnard Elementary is also a Title 1 DC public school, meaning that many students come from low-income households. There are so many things that I, as an individual, will not be able to do for these children, but understanding that I might just make a small difference is all that i can do. Although what I am doing might not be life changing for any of these students, I do hope that what I am doing helps them in a way that allows them to be better students and people.

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