Howdy, Ya'll! Happy almost Thanksgiving to all you non-Canadians (bc theirs is in October. Knowledge!) While you are digging through your closets to find your stretchiest, most feast-appropriate pants, take a moment and read David Pixton's story. Bon Apetit!
Where were you before AmeriCorps?
David Pixton: I was in Pendleton, OR working for a clinical laboratory. Everything that comes out of a human, we tested.
How did you hear about AmeriCorps? Why did you decide to apply?
David Pixton: I
wasn’t too happy doing what I was doing. It was interesting stuff
because I really like science, but it wasn’t something that I wanted to
do. I was stuck in the lab all night by myself. I surfed on the internet
for things that I could do. I found this program and it sounded really
fun and like something I could do. I applied, and was interviewed, and
got the job. I only applied for the education type positions because I
wanted to work with kids. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a teacher at
that point, but now I do know. I think being a teacher is where I can
best serve the kids and most serve myself.
What called you about AmeriCorps?
David Pixton: When
I applied, the only background in AmeriCorps that I had was from when I
was a kid in elementary school in Washington. I remember working with
an AmeriCorps member for most of the day on my multiplication facts. I
remember we stopped working, because of a lack of time, on the 8s
multiplication facts. And to this day, I still have problems with the
facts past 8.
How have you changed since joining AmeriCorps?
David Pixton: I’ve
become a better leader. I never had to lead before quite to this
degree. And now, I’m responsible for all of these kids. Even though I’m
not a teacher, I’m still responsible for the kids in my AVID tutorial.
It’s a weight, but it’s rewarding because I get to lead them and help
push them in all these m
directions. I don’t think it’s overwhelming, but
it is a cool feeling.
more after the jump!
Has this changed your life trajectory?
David Pixton: Oh
yes, definitely, because now i’m on a career path that I hadn’t
anticipated and now I see that this is definitely want to do.
What did you want to do when you were a kid?
David Pixton: I
think I had a pretty eclectic taste as a kid. I wanted to be a
guitarist, and a pilot, and a teacher. Somehow, I talked my uncle into
getting his pilot license. I didn’t think he would do it but then he
actually did it. He took me up in the plane and let us fly around. The
problem with being a pilot is that I get motion sick in small planes and
the other thing is it’s not a very great job to have. It’s kind of
evolved into pilots being like bus drivers. The illusion was shattered.
Where do you want to be in ten years?
David Pixton: I
would like to have my own classroom. I’m leaving my options open to
whether it’s a middle school or a high school. I serve at a middle
school right now and I really like it. I think there’s a lot of good I
can do at a middle school. At the school i’m at right now, none of the
science teachers have science backgrounds, they’re all social science
teachers or something like that who have been transplanted to science. I
think it could be beneficial to be in a middle school classroom with a
science background. I think a lot of middle school students do not like
science in the middle school level. I’m seeing kids who are just
terrified of science because they hate it so much, or it’s so hard for
them, or they haven’t had it explained to them in a way that they can
Did you have any expectations to what AmeriCorps would be like?
David Pixton: I’d say it is pretty close to what I expected. I expected to be serving kids, and that’s exactly what I have been doing.
What does service mean to you?
David Pixton: I
have broadened my definition of service. Now I see that you can serve
in all these different ways I never thought of before like handing a
person a pencil, or giving someone a piece of advice. It doesn’t have to
be to go into the military and die for your country, service can be any
little thing and I think that’s what’s so great about AmeriCorps. You
don’t have to die for anyone to serve them. I think you’re just as
valuable as someone who fights for our country. We’re fighting for our
students, who are the future leaders.
Describe an influential character for us.
David Pixton: Monda.
It’s hard to envision this program without her. I can’t believe she’s
leaving. It’s interesting to think about what it’s going to look like
without her. She says she does what she says and says what she does.
It’s that whole concept of always do what you say you’re going to do. I
think that’s a pretty valid trait to have that kind of integrity.
What did your friends and family say when you told them you were going to join AmeriCorps?
David Pixton: Most
of my family were very supportive. My dad was worried about the money
though I think because he didn’t think it would be enough money for
someone to live off of. Fortunately, I proved him wrong.
How would you describe AmeriCorps to your Grandma in thirty seconds?
David Pixton: It’s
a way in which to serve your community. The program I have entered is a
little bit less than a year but I can choose to serve for another year.
Why do you need to go so far away?
It’s too dry in eastern Washington. Part of joining AmeriCorps is being able to see new places.
Any advice for next year’s members?
David Pixton: What
has served me best this year is always smiling and staying positive.
Working with students is pretty similar to working in a big group.
Smiling and staying positive is pretty universal.