I woke up this morning pretty nervous about the switch, I think I was the most nervous I had ever been. I was really beginning to have reservations about coming to Estill and staying with a family I had never met before for four nights, I really wasn't sure what I was walking in to.
Most of my reservations were quelled when I met the White family. I was finally able to put a face with the people I had been hearing about and wondering about for the past week. I took the drive back with them. In the car, Mrs. White and the entire family were very nice to me. They made me feel welcome and right at home.
When we got to Scotia, they showed me to my room. I got settled and spent a little while talking to Janae's sister, Shanae. I also talked to a couple of the students I will be meeting tomorrow on the phone. They seemed really nice.
I am excited and nervous about tomorrow!
I found out that I will have to take the bus tomorrow morning, and I have never taken the bus to school. In elementary, middle and part of high school, one of my parents always drove me. Now I drive myself to school, so taking the bus to school will definitely be a new experience for me. I'm really not looking forward to being at the bus stop at 6:30. That is EARLY!
I think this is going to be quite the experience.
Today was my first day at school. I woke up and at 6:00, Craig and Dan were at the door to tape me getting dressed. I was so excited to find out I would be on TV without my makeup on, and let me tell you, it is hard to brush your teeth when there is a camera in your face! Ha ha...
Well, the bus cam a couple minutes early and Shanae and I almost missed it. We had to run to the bus. Let me tell you, that was an experience in itself.
Anyway, I got on the bus and I immediately got so nervous. Everyone was looking at me because I was a strange girl on this bus. When we got to school, the principal greeted me as I got off the bus. That made me feel welcome.
As I walked into school, it was kind of overwhelming, but in a good way. Everyone was telling me hello, and everyone knew my name, and was asking me questions. While it was nice for them to go out of their way to make me feel welcome, it was a little overwhelming.
As I was walking to the main office, I saw posters and signs all around the school that said "Welcome Amy." They spelled my name wrong, but that was OK. It's the thought that counts.
Then, the student council presented me with a gift basket that had some snacks, hair ties...etc. That was very nice for them to do.
I finally made my way to my first class of the day, Probability and Statistics. The first thing I noticed when I walked in the classroom was that they were still using chalkboards. I don't ever remember using a chalkboard, even when I was in elementary school. I had no idea that chalkboards were still used!
Another thing that shocked me was that the statistics teacher had to use a piece of yellow paper to reflect the overhead projector.
The learning environment was very different from the environment at RNHS. The students didn't seem to have any respect for the teacher. They would talked while he was trying to teach and he wouldn't really do anything about it. The students would have their own conversations. I know that they could not be learning with all the talking because I couldn't think or concentrate because I was distracted.
Chemistry class was a little better. The coach taught the class, and he was a lot more strict. You could tell he didn't take any crap. The students seemed to respect him because that's what he expected from them.
All the other teachers were treated like the first. They talked during most of the class, and not much was accomplished. It was almost like the students didn't want to learn and they didn't care. It just blew my mind that the teachers let the students act like they did while they were trying to teach. There would be so many write-ups at RNE if the students acted like the did during class.
Another thing that kind of blew my mind was that during my free period, there was no teacher. To my surprise, the students were very well behaved, even without supervision. There is ALWAYS a teacher to supervise study hall.
In my greenhouse class, the students referred to the teacher using "dawg?" They would say things like, "That's what I said, dawg," or "Yeah, dawg." It was never yes or even yes sir. I thought that was extremely disrespectful and I thought it was crazy the teacher let the students talk to him like that.
I went to cheerleading practice at 5:00 after going home to rest for a few minutes after school. Cheerleading is even different in Columbia. The cheerleaders here do not stunt, and stunting is just about all our cheerleaders practice. They practiced cheers, and the cheers were different, too. The cheers here were more like step team, and the cheers at RNE are not like step team.
After practice, we went to Aunt Patnacias and had spaghetti, then we went home and I did my confessional, watched TV and now I'm writing in this. Tomorrow should be a lot easier because I'm more familiar with the people and the school.
I was thinking that the biggest difference between RNE and Estill was technology and the size, but after 2 days here, I realized that the biggest difference is actually the learning environment overall.
From what I have observed, the students don't seem to have much respect for their teachers at all. The teachers could be at the front of the classroom trying to teach, and the students pay them no attention. I know this was a huge problem in the probability & statistics class. Mr. Espionosa was doing his best to conduct a class, but he didn't get hardly any work done because the class was acting up. He couldn't get the students quiet or focused if his life depended on it. I can imagine how frustrating that must be as a teacher. I know that I couldn't hear what Mr. Espionosa was teaching. I was one of the few trying to listen, but I couldn't hear because of all the noise. That was frustrating for me as a student.
Today a reporter from Hampton’s weekly paper came and interviewed me. He asked me if I would send my children to Estill High School if I had a choice. I sat and thought about it, and I said “no”. I know that it was very hard for me to learn at Estill, and I would want my child to get the best education possible.
After school was cheerleading practice. After cheerleading, some of the girls met at the old sewing room to decorate for a Halloween party that they are having on Saturday night. That was a lot of fun. I really felt like I connected with some of the people finally. I felt like they truly liked me, and they weren't just talking to me because they had to. I felt like they were really enjoying my company. We were dancing and just acting crazy while we were decorating.
Now that I've made some friends, I think tomorrow will be a lot easier and natural for me.
We had to catch the bus again this morning. We didn't have to run this time! Ha, ha. When we got to school, we walked towards the school and everyone was stopped. I looked ahead to see what was going on, and there was a metal detector. Every person had to have their bags hand-checked, then walk through. This was a completely new experience for me. I'm used to walking through metal detectors at football games, but not at school. I'm not sure if they were expecting something or if this was routine. The other students didn't seem surprised, so I think this happens on a regular basis. They were also confiscating the book bags that weren't mesh or see through. Apparently you have to be able to see through the book bags.
Today has been better in terms of the people. I made some friends last night, so talking to the people was a lot more natural today. I was finally able to find my way around the school without a guide. That felt good too.
After spending three days at Estill High School, here is my conclusion: I don't think many of the students think that education is important. I'm not saying that is the case for all students, but many students didn't seem like they wanted to learn. If they aren't at school to learn, they are going to socialize and keep the other students from learning. I saw that a lot. The ones who didn't seem to care distracted me, someone who wants to learn, and I didn't get as much accomplished as I could have. One teacher told me that a lot of the students don't hold education in high regard because they will get out of high school and either go into the military or work for their parents. Some don't have any other option.
Tonight was the football game. Even the atmosphere at the football game was different. I will say that it was finally football weather. I was cold! At the game, there weren't as many fans in the stands as there are at RNE. That is probably because RNE is a lot bigger than Estill. The food was good too, but I've found the food has been amazing here as a whole. After the game, we went back to the old sewing room to finish decorating, but we didn't stay for too long because I had to pack. I've had fun, and this entire has been a complete culture shock. It has made me grateful for the endless opportunities that I have at Northeast. This is definitely an experience I won't ever forget.