On Monday, May 20th we had class from 8:30 to 11:30 and discussed the Standards for Effective Teachers, and the book that Br. Terence McLaughlin wrote, “Silent Acceptance”. After lunch we went to De La Salle Middle School in North St. Louis to meet with our cooperating teachers and begin helping the students with their studies. Between Tuesday and Thursday we went with the students from De La Salle Middle School to Camp Manitowa – not far from Benton, Illinois. The activities with the students included High Ropes (and a zipline to get down from the top), Arts and Crafts, GaGa (dodge-ball), Ultimate Frisbee, Basketball, Camp Fires with Smores, Kayaking, Capture the Flag, a Scavenger Hunt, and Low Ropes. We slept in yurts which were named after different tribes of Indians. All of this provided us an opportunity to get to know the students and faculty outside the school.
Throughout our time at Camp Manitowa we spent 32 hours in field experience or clinicals (as part of our education class). When Thursday afternoon rolled around, we departed for Memphis, Tennessee. It was a three-hour drive…so most of us slept because the students tired us out. When we arrived at CBHS we had dinner with the Brothers, did laundry, and watched the movie “The Help” to understand how blacks were treated in the south, particularly in the period leading up to the Civil Rights Movement. On Friday morning we had class with Br. Terence, the author of “Silent Acceptance”. Most of the afternoon and evening was free time. Joe, Eric, Br. Pat, Br. Anthony (Tony), and I went to a movie that evening. On Saturday, Mr. Marty Scruggs, the athletic trainer for a number of professional athletes in Memphis as well as at the high school conducted a substance abuse class with us on the mandatory drug testing at CBHS. Afterwards, we met with Br. Anthony and he spoke about his experience with LTIP and why he joined the Christian Brothers. In the afternoon we had a substance abuse class with Br. Tom Sullivan. Brother Tom is a Biology professor at CBU. Then, we went to mass with the Brothers at Immaculate Conception Cathedral. That evening, Br. Chris Englert took us to Beale Street for dinner at Blues City Cafe. Before dinner, however, we went to see the hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. got shot. By the way, the food at the Blues City Cafe was amazing. Most of us had steaks and ribs.
I have learned a lot of things throughout this whole week and probably everybody else feels the same way as I do. I learned how to deal with students, how to set rules so that students can follow and respect each other. I learned how to encounter and work with a student on a one-to-one basis. When it was time to pack and leave the camp, we, as LTIP participants had a chance to talk with the students and this was when I had the voice to say something. The most important thing that I told my group was that, if you have respect for others than you are going to get the same respect that you gave that person.
My personal highlight of the week was the camp. Some of the students listened to me no matter what I said and some of found it difficult, so I had to learn how to enforce rules just as a teacher would if a student didn’t listen to him or her. I can’t wait until Tuesday when I go back to De La Salle Middle School and work with the students. Hopefully, I will be a good male role model that they can look upon to and succeed as well as prosper later on in life.
-Marek Blizinski, Lewis LTIP Participant