Of firetrucks and classrooms

At the behest of an unnamed friend who has berated me for not writing more, I am endeavoring to update more frequently.  Enough has certainly happened this week already!  Monday was busy but uneventful-I spent the entire day transcribing 911 calls and putting together a binder for a case that’ll probably plead anyway.  Oh, well.  I do what I’m told!  I also had my 3-way meeting, which is when my faculty advisor comes to visit me at work and we have a meeting between me, my advisor, and my supervisor.  It’s an opportunity for us all to touch base, make sure everyone’s expectations are being met, and to discuss my learning a little bit.  It’s an opportunity for me to advocate for what I want to do/learn, which I still find really difficult.  First of all, I’m perfectly content doing what I already do, and so many things are out of my supervisor’s control anyway.  Secondly, I always feel rude and pushy when I ask for things, and I feel bad for demanding so much.  I just feel bad whenever I think people are bending backwards to accommodate me, and I feel like that’s a little of what this is.  I also felt bad asking my supervisors to take an hour out of their busy schedule to do my school stuff.  However, I’ve resolved to ask my supervisor before the month is over if I can visit the criminalistics or ballistics lab or something. Maybe I can even ask a detective to visit a shooting range.  These are all things I’d love to do, but I’d feel bad for not working.  I’m sure they can get along without me for a few hours, though.  I’m just so bad at asking for things.  The meeting was also strange because we discussed a lot of things that I could do and a lot of people I could talk to, but we didn’t really brainstorm concrete ways to make them happen.

Tuesday was insane.  It was a full day in court (we were literally there from 9-3:30), and the only things we had to do were 2 preliminary hearings.  One of our witnesses had 5th amendment council so we couldn’t talk to her until her attorney came, and he didn’t show up until after 10.  That case also had co-defendants who each had their own council.  Our other case had a witness who was incarcerated and then turned south (they became uncooperative) and denied everything in his statement, so my supervisor literally had to read every single word of the statement into the record and ask the witness if he had said that before, and if he was the one who had signed the statement. Of course, the defense attorney on that case also was a huge asshole and kept objecting to EVERY question that was asked.  He probably made the proceedings 10x longer than they had to be. Even the judge grew impatient after a while, and asked both attorneys to wrap things up.  That’s why we were in court until 3:30.

The evening was even crazier.  We had our usual class at TPC at 5:30, and we had just come back from our break at 7:30 when the fire alarm went off.  We were all wondering if it was a drill, and our professor finally said we needed to leave the building just in case.  We all leisurely gathered our stuff and strolled toward the stairs…where we smelled smoke.  Then we started booking it down those stairs!  As we got outside, firetrucks were already pulling up, but we couldn’t see a fire anywhere.  At one point, there were upwards of 16+ emergency vehicles and CBS news was there.  (http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/03/05/fire-forces-evacuation-of-center-city-high-rise/)  Needless to say, class ended early.  Good thing nothing burned down!

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Firetrucks in action right outside our school building! The actual thing on fire turned out to be a homeless man’s cot.

Today was also very full and productive.  We visited Overbrook High School today as part of class, and we got to talk to sophomores about college, financial aid, the application process, etc.  We were split into groups of 3, and each small group went into a classroom.  My class was super unenthusiastic at first, but when they realized that we weren’t there to lecture at them they became much more participatory.  We basically spent the entire hour answering their questions about college.  All 3 of us were unsure of what we would be doing when we walked into the classroom-I think we were all under the impression that we would be talking to kids one-on-one.  Nope.  We were thrown in there and expected to run the class for an hour.  The teacher wasn’t even there for the 1st half-there was just a lady in the room supervising the kids.  It is SO difficult to wrangle and engage a room full of sophomores when you have no connection with them, and when their teacher isn’t even present.  Believe me, I did not think I was going to be running a class for a hour.  We managed between the 3 of us, though.  It got easier as we went on.  The kids were just so hungry for information.  I mean, a lot of these students know more people in jail than in college.  It’s just such a different environment than what I had in high school.  I mean, the counselor couldn’t even get a printer for a year and just *just* obtained a phone line.  The school district is also thinking of closing 2 nearby high schools and funneling those students into this high school as well as putting some 7th and 8th graders in because of budget cuts.  It’s absolutely ridiculous.  I have so much more respect for teachers who deal with high school students.  I’m learning so much about urban/city life and the poverty crisis the longer I live here, and it’s just heartbreaking sometimes. :/

To top it all off, I found out that the jury trial we had scheduled to go on the 18th just pled today.  No trial again!  Grr.  I’m determined to see my supervisor on trial before I leave.  Otherwise, I’m coming back.  Dead serious.  I need to see this woman in action.

On the plus side, my friend is visiting from the west coast this weekend and staying for a week!  I’m so excited to show her the city! :)




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