Dec. 20, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - While many of their fellow students are enjoying the comforts of home and their break from classes, the Santa Clara women's basketball team has been hard at work preparing for its tough five game home stand that begins on Friday, Dec. 21 against San Jose State. Yet, with the freedom of only having to eat, sleep and drink basketball, the Broncos took a well-deserved morning off to visit with the elementary students of St. Clare's.
Below, senior guard and future elementary teacher Chandice Cronk (Wasilla, Alaska) reflects after a morning of reading and sharing stories with fourth graders. Fans can also view a photo gallery of the Broncos time at St. Clare's by clicking here.
Cronk's Reflection: St. Clare's School gave us the opportunity to come in and read to each class in the morning, ranging all the way from the bright-eyed kindergartners to the intelligent eighth graders. As we all know, mornings aren't exactly the most wonderful time of the day, but from what I heard, each class was great and gave everyone an experience to remember. However, my heart is with the fourth graders (and the "now" fifth graders, because I was able to watch them grow in the fourth grade.) Not only is this the grade I want to teach someday, but I also volunteered in this classroom prior and was blessed to be able to work with a wonderful teacher, Ms. Lederman. The children are so well behaved, and are very eager to learn. (This will become apparent when I tell you some of the questions they asked.).
Kathy [Willinsky] and I read a book about different animals and their first experiences with snow. After we were done reading I asked, "So, how many of you have seen snow?" Of course, every hand shot up. Most of them had seen snow in Reno, but a few in Philadelphia and Minnesota. When I told them I was from Alaska, I thought their eyes were going to pop out of their heads, and once again, hands were instantly in the air. I was asked questions about sled dogs, igloos and snow pants. Kathy would chime in once in awhile and actually had a very insightful definition of snow pants for the children... "Snow pants are like snow jackets...but pants!" I think if one were to look in the dictionary for a definition of snow pants, Kathy's would definitely be in there. fº
We received an array of questions, but my favorite was from a cute little blonde girl who asked, "If people don't live in Igloo's in Antarctica...or that cold state you're from...what do they live in?" This young girl's classmates looked at her very puzzled and many shouted the obvious answer, "houses." But don't worry. I quickly reassured her by telling her the houses are much smaller than the one's in San Jose and many people live in cabins.
That question got me thinking and made me realize how much I love little kids, and can't wait to have my own classroom. That innocent little girl may not have thought that question through thoroughly but her intentions were to learn something new and I admire her for that.
I also came to realize that Piaget was dead on with his theory of "egocentrism" in young children. We think that our bosses and co-workers, or fellow students, are egotistical. Go spend 15 minutes in a fourth grade or younger classroom, and your idea of self-centeredness will change drastically. After chatting with my mom, who is also a brilliant teacher that I admire dearly, about my experience I began to realize that the questions that the fourth graders were asking, really weren't questions at all. Instead, they were statements. Sure there were a few questions, but over 75% of the things said were stories about snow or about themselves. One girl said, "I don't really have a question, but I just want you to know that it is my birthday and Alexis's birthday this month." Kathy and I chuckled but, of course, wished them both very happy birthdays.
Overall, the experience was absolutely incredible and I know that I speak for every single one of my teammates when I say that. I hope that we get another chance to read to the youngsters and be a part of the St. Clare's community very soon.