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Journal Entry # 1: Staff (First Observations)

The staff at think together was diverse in some aspects and not very diverse in others. In terms of
ethnicity the staff was not very diverse. Three of the four teachers, or Program Leaders as they are
called in the program, were Hispanic and only one was Caucasian. Yet this was not a surprise since most
of the students in the program are Hispanic, in fact the whole community on Ontario is primarily
Hispanic. Even though they were not diverse in their ethnicity they were very diverse with their
education and past experiences.
The first PL I met was named Jessie, she was a very outgoing teacher. The students seemed to like joking
around with her and she connected well with all of the students especially the older ones. Jessie was in
charge of the 4th and 5th graders. Upon first seeing her I believed she was quite young yet when I got to
know her I discovered she was actually in her mid-thirties, was a single mother, and had both of the
children in the program. I did not ask her about her education yet from what I heard around
conversation it seemed as though she had no higher education.
The second PL I talked to was Lara, she was the only Caucasian teacher in the program and was around
27 years old. Laura was a strict teacher the students listened to her yet I did not feel as though they
liked her very much. Maybe it had to do with the age, she has 1st and 2nd graders, but the children
seemed too distant from her. I found this odd because I soon learned she was a pre-school teacher
before working with Think Together. I also learned she was not from Ontario, in fact she was not from
California at all. In fact she came to California from New York. In terms of education she seemed to have
some schooling on teaching yet I do not believe it was a BA.
The third Pl was the oldest, wisest, and most educated of them all. Anna was in her late forties, and use
to be an art teacher for high school students. At the age of 15 she moved from Cuba to America. She
taught the 3rd and 4th graders with an iron fist. She commanded respect from all the children and that is
what she got. Of all the PL she was the only one they referred to as Mrs. She knew how to handle the
children and she I feel she knew what worked best. The last PL, Claudia, I was not able to interact with
much. The only things I could notice was that she was young, around my age so around 22 or so, and she
was inexperienced. Her 5th and 6th graders were always the rowdies and the ones who got in trouble the
most.
From my initial thought I feel like the teachers overall are doing the best they can with the education
and resources they have. I feel as though I will learn more about their teaching style and they deal with
students in the following weeks.

Journal Entry #2: Staff (Conclusion)


After being with Think Together for six weeks now I can confidently critique the staff and their dynamic.
As explained in the previous journal entry all four Program Leaders are diverse in certain aspects. They
each have different teaching styles, strengths, and weaknesses.
First I shall start with Jessie. As stated before she is very outgoing and connects with students well. She
has the ability to relate to and work well with diverse children and youth. As stated by Mott a positive
program leader should be able to support positive relationships between adults, in this case herself, and

the program participants, the students. Jessie does this very well. She can joke around with them and
yet they still pay attention to her. While she is pretty lenient when need be she can be strict and can
promote positive behavior and discourage inappropriate behaviors that can result in feeling of lack of
safety. While this is a good thing think she does not incorporate academic context in her lessons. Her
program (each teacher has a different one on Fridays) is playing a sport. The sport changes weekly and
while the students are being active they are not really learning anything. In fact this is the case will all
the teachers. None of them really teach anything to the students. Yet I feel like this has to do more with
me going on Fridays and Fridays being a more relaxed day.
Laura as observed in the first few weeks if very distant with the students. She does not make
connections with them and she does not engage with them more than necessary. I got the feeling that
she does not want to be there. It felt as though the only reason she was there was for her wage, and it is
a shame. Due to her background, her being from New York and having worked with preschoolers, I feel
as though she has the potential to open the horizons for so many students. Many of the students at
sultana have never traveled. They do not know what New York is, where it is located, and what it can
offer. I feel as though is Laura was more open here experiences can positively influence many students.
That being said Laura does have some positive attributes. She is very dedicated to teaching the children
the curriculum. She is one of the few teachers who I noticed actually took an effort in teaching students
something new. In her case Laura taught students about persimmons. She discussed what they were
about, she asked and answered questions. Overall her lesson on persimmons was very informative. She
was also very good at maintain accurate program records and following procedures.
Anna, as seen previously, is a great program leader. She follows Motts program almost to a tee. She
supports active learning, engages with adults, carries out programs, and promotes safety. She asked
students questions and promotes them to think for themselves. The only issue I could see with her is
that she, much like Laura, cant seem to connect very much with the students. She does engage with
them to an extent yet she is very strict. I think this had to do with her age and the age group she has.
None the less I feel that Anna is a great teacher to learn from.
Lastly we have Claudia, I feel as though she is not experienced enough. She does not know how to deal
with students. While she does follow the program and has connections with some of the students many
of them dont respect her. I do not think it has to do with age but the way she carries herself. She needs
to be more assertive about her position as an educator.

Journal Entry #3: Program Director


My program director, Dina, was one of the nicest individuals I have encountered in a long time. She was
so understanding and most of all she was very passionate about after school. Personally I believe she
was a great program leader. She had a clear goal. She wanted to provide education for children so that
they were safe and still learned. She was also an advocate for the Think Together moto of Be safe, be
responsible, Have fun. Moreover she encouraged communication between herself and staff. On
occasions I would get to the site early and would witness staff meetings. These meeting included
material such as curriculum, programs they wanted to have, and general announcements. At all
occasions Dina would ask the PL opinions. At the end of the meeting she would as for suggestions or
concerns. When a staff member made a comment she would take note and talk to them when she had
free time. Her communication did not stop at her staff. She also pushed for communication with the day

teachers. In one occasion we had low numbers (it was during the week before thanksgiving) and thus I
was able to talk to Dina and ask her some questions. I asked her how integrated Think Together was
with the school day and how communication was. She explained to me how things at now were a lot
better than they were. She told me how the change in principles made a big change. Before the new
principle Think Together was not important. They saw the program as a separate learning opportunity,
teachers did not want to be involved. In fact some teachers would complain about having to share their
classroom. Now, she states, teachers still complain but the communication is a lot better and Think
Together is seem more of a partner to the school day than an extra opportunity.
Another think Dian excelled at was providing for the needs of her staff regarding supplies. I noticed this
early on. PL would give Dina a list of supplies they needed for their programs and Dian would always
have the material for them. She would also listen to the words of the students. if there was some sort of
miscommunication or comment she would listen and discuss it with the staff.
The only issue I can find with Dina is a detail that I cannot bring myself to blame her for. This issue is that
none of her staff, except for maybe Mrs. Anna, have higher education. This I feel is not something that
Dina can really have a say in. She needs people and if the people able to work are not as educated as
others yet have the will to work for after school she is going to hire them. The area also does not
provide for that many opportunities. Ontario is not a high standing community, it is one of working
people. Thus those are the type of people that will be employed. Overall I feel as though Dina followed
most of the key findings Huang and Dietel found for a good leader. The areas where she lacked were out
of her control. She did the best she could with the resources she had, and thats all that one can ask of
her.