Who are you?
(who, who, who, who?)
As I was at service I noticed that a key part was forming relationships with the kids. We are told at the beginning of service that their circumstances aren’t the best and that part of our job was to not only to teach them but also to be their friend. Part of being their friend was listening to them, having real conversations with them, and taking some of the load from home off their back. Another key part of being their friend was being genuine with the kids. We weren’t supposed to take on the role of tutor or try to be a role model, but to be ourselves. In Twelfth Night by Shakespeare there are few honest relationships. Obviously Viola causes problems by not being herself, literally, but also the other characters. They misuse and abuse each other, creating chaos for the whole group. I can relate this to my service because if I am not honest with myself and the kids I am serving I will not make a difference, or even more importantly, I wont be a friend and may actually burden the kids more than I help.
Throughout the play Viola is disguised as her brother to somehow backwardly seduce Orsinio. She is not only fake to him but also to Olivia, the fool, Maria, Malvolio, and so on. Her trickery starts to mess things up. Along with her having a false identity Maria and Toby and Andrew pretend to be Olivia in order to prank Malvolio. This causes so much commotion and ends up with him in jail. In the end everything is revealed, like expected, but there was so much damage in the process.
At Mother Seton we have an unspoken contract with the kids. They are honest with us and we are honest back. There’s a certain level of trust between us in order to make a connection and to make everything go smoothly. My companion, Kennedi, was very honest with me when we first met, and it was quite helpful. She told me she hated school, she knew she was lucky to be at MSA, but she didn’t like it or understand the work. She wanted to be a fashion designer, not at school. This was a shock to me because MSA is held with such high regards, but nevertheless I appreciated her honesty. Because of her telling me the truth instead of faking that she liked school and understood her work I could help her better. I decided to start using shopping metaphors when doing math homework (something my father did with me in grade school) and I started making games out of spelling and history. This helped make school a bit more enjoyable for her (I hoped!) and helped her learn at the same time.
Another thing that was great was that because I wasn’t much of an authority figure, more of a friend, we could talk about social media and boys. It seems like something menial, but it really did help connect us. We bonded over amount of instagram followers and how annoying but cute some boys were. It was nice to have conversations like that because it took the pressure off her schoolwork.
I can use what I’ve learned in Twelfth Night directly with my service. In fact, I didn’t really learn much, but more was reminded of the fact that I need to be genuine when working with people. If I am not myself and I am taking away from my work and being unfair. If I had been strictly schoolwork with Kennedi our relationship would have been totally artificial. Kind of like Malvolio and Olivia, he is strictly servant and in the end that messes him up a bit. The lesson of honesty and being one’s true self is key in any aspect of life but especially in my service work at Mother Seton.
I think the most interesting thing I've learned in this class is that there can be two sentence poems. Or even one-lined poems. And even poems that simple can be so complex and meaningful. From that I learned people are the same way, that they are more than their face value and can be very deep if I stop and give them a chance to express themselves versus disregarding them and simplistic.