A Day in the Life of a Gaucho at City Year

CityYear_600Name: Freshta Sidiqi
Major at UCSB: Sociology, Minor: Education
Date of graduation: June 2014
Current Job Title at City Year: City Year Los Angeles AmeriCorps Team Leader

What motivated you to work at your present company?
My passion for education equity, youth empowerment and community development is what motivated me to work at City Year Los Angeles.

Give us a snapshot of a typical work day.
A typical work day for me consist of waking up at 5:30 am to get to service right at 7:00 am where we start our day with a first circle. Circles are a tradition of how CY starts off and ends their day to ensure that everyone can be heard when sharing any joys and appreciations, and announcements for the day/week. After circle I head into the CY room and prep any materials/lessons for the day and then head outside to morning greet my students with my team. At this time is where I can talk to my students about their homework the previous day, find out more about their interests/hobbies and who they are as a human. Once I guide my students into class, I head back to have a morning meeting with my team where we discuss vital components of our service year to ensure we are on track or aware of deliverables. After the meeting I head back to class and am able to view a portion of whole class instruction before pulling my small group of students outside of class and working with them directly. After 30 minutes of intervention, my students and I head back to class and I am able to see more whole class instruction before pulling my second group of students to go over more content. During my pull outs I focus on math and ELA and try to address skill gaps to ensure my students are on track. This is also a time where I utilize my intervention lesson plans that I create during my prep time after recess. Once recess time hits, my second group and I go back towards class and head out to recess. I spend my recess on the basketball court, kickball field, or jump rope area and engage in various activities with the entire student population out at this time. As the whistle blows I guide my students back to class and I have an hour or prep time to plan intervention lessons for my students or finish any deliverables for the week. After my hour of prep, I meet my students in the lunch area and engage in conversation for the remainder of their lunch. As they are lined up to head to the yard, I go back to the CY room and take my lunch. This is then followed by more prep, back to class, or meetings, depending on the day. Half an hour before the bell rings for student dismissal for the day, my team and I check in and prep for our after school program that we host for 3 hours. As our check in comes to an end we are outside power greeting our students for a powerful after school program, which consists of homework help, supper, outdoor activity, interventions, and enrichment lessons. As the last student is picked up from our program my team and I finish off our day in a final circle.

What were the 3 most important things you did during you application process to help you land the job?

1. I started the application way before the deadline and worked on it in chunks in the span of a couple weeks.

2. I revised my answers to the application question multiple times and had a friend revise it and provide a fresh pair of eyes.

3. I utilized campus services to review my resume and speak to recruiters on campus for any application advice.

4. Additionally, I attended sessions on campus hosted by City Year recruiters.

What experience helped you prepare the most for this job?
Being apart of a service organization (CAB) on campus really drove my passion for volunteer work. The volunteer position that most prepared me for this specific work with CY would be acting as a UC Buddy at the Boys and Girls Club and choosing to minor in Education. My time as a UC Buddy helped me figure out my passion for educating youth and as an Education minor I got to study the inequities in our education system, which pushed me to want to find solutions as a future career option.

Looking back on undergrad, is there anything you would have done differently to prepare for your career?
Looking back at my experience at UCSB, I would have wanted to become more connected to the Education Department and take advantage of all they offered, possibly even conducting research with a professor a part of that program.

What is your advice to students interested in similar positions?
The work is challenging but you will learn and grow in ways you have never thought imaginable. Research the program, talk to current and past City Year AmeriCorps Members and start volunteering as a tutor to see if you truly enjoy working with students.