Stephanie and I sub at one of the dormitories on Thursday nights. Its the dorm parent’s night off so we go over and help out the RAs and spend time with the guys. There are about 25-30 male high school students at Haus Bad Reidlinger (HBR) and it contains every bit as much action as you might think a house with 25 high school guys living it might have.
It originally had been a huge question mark. We were already doing a lot. Steph was coaching volleyball. We were both doing small groups on wednesday nights. Just living life was a challenge in this new and foreign place. We were determined not to commit unless we planned on showing up and being consistent. These kids depend on consistency and being the couple that shows up on random thursday nights doesn’t do much for the students or dorm staff. In the end we felt it would be a valuable time to connect with students. Neither Steph or Myself hold typical teaching positions and therefore don’t come into contact with students on a regular, period by period, basis. This would allow us to do that.
The thing I noticed the most the first night I was the noise. It was intense. Everything echoed off the walls and it seemed like utter chaos. I looked around at some of the other RAs who were just sitting there as if it was any other night. Apparently it was. Being honest now, I thought to myself how glad I was it was only going to be Thursdays. Last thursday I realized I was making more noise then most of the guys. There really isn’t anything quite like banging on the kitchen table for no particular reason.
After dinner I go out and play basketball with the guys for about an hour or so. Its a lot of fun and has become a bit of a tradition. Although, Stephanie still rolls her eyes at me when I come in drenched in sweat. “You don’t have to go all out” is a phrase I’ve heard..... nonsense.
Then comes study hours at 8:00. Two hours of them. I usually hole myself up with a student in a study room. We work on geometry or chemistry..... that’s right.... I help kids with geometry and chemistry. Recently, I’ve been reading American Literature short stories with on of the 11th graders. Its been a win/win because there hasn’t been a story I remember reading in high school yet so I figure picking it up the second time around is as good as the first.
We usually try to get out of there around 10:00 but rarely end up leaving before 10:30 or 10:45. I usually get caught up playing a game of college ball (remind me to teach you) or making some cinnamon toast with the guys. I have learned, by the way, there is never a bad time for toast with cinnamon sugar on it.... seriously.
Dorm night Thursdays has become one of our favorite nights. We hope the students and dorm staff benefit from our presence there. I hope the students I help study do a bit better on there geometry or chemistry exams. I’m sure the guys gain little from my over competitive basketball sessions. God has blessed us amazingly from our time spent at the dorm. He knew our love for these guys would grow through our opportunity to see them in their element. It has encouraged us in our everyday routines at school and enabled us to approach our interactions with more empathy and confidence.