Our time at Broad Ripple High School has been exciting and eventful for both the mentors and the students. In my time I have found it most difficult to bridge the gap of emotional, physical, and educational differences between the students and me. Instead of trying to pretend that we were from the same backgrounds, I have learned to embrace our differences and ask the students questions about their home lives and what they like to do outside of school to better understand their reasoning for certain feelings and reactions.
By allowing our students to express themselves in a creative and constructive way, we allow them to radiate positivity into their work rather than what they may receive in the classroom. Too frequently their work could have been disregarded due to a lack or time or awareness, but while in this writing program, they are able to better their writing, attitudes, and themselves. By putting the students into smaller groups, we’re in a position to show them we care. We’re allowing them to peer into a life much different than theirs, but that doesn’t mean we don’t share common ground.
One of my students has voiced particular interest in how the mentors always ask about the students’ days and personal lives. It is a small act that makes a huge impact on his day. We often don’t have the opportunity to see how our actions impact those around us, but with our students at Broad Ripple, it has been amazing to see the transformation that has occurred inside these students emotionally as well as within their writing.
Christian Willey is a senior English major.