The beginning of our summer program started last week. I am the director of the program which has 9 teachers and 28 children. The teachers are actually the students in my graduate practicum class and they are getting their master’s degree in special education. Every summer I teach this class through this summer program. Parents are sent information about the program in the spring and apply to send their children (ages 6-13) to us. The cost for the parents is $150 to send the children for 15 days - Mon. through Thursday for 4 weeks from 8:30 -11:30 each day (except the first Monday) when I meet with the teachers. My teachers will teach the students reading, math, and writing skills which they determine after administering a pre-assessment the first couple of days.
The first day with children started off with a general assembly where I talked to the parents about dropping their children off and the procedure for picking them up. Then teachers led their students with parents to the classroom. All of the children seemed excited even though some of the older ones acted like they didn’t want to be there (they wanted to keep up the tough guy appearances anyway!). I saw a few familiar returning children and I was excited to see them again. It is fun to see how some of them have matured over the past year. One student has returned five times and this is the last year he is eligible due to his age.
The next two days I informally observed the teachers so I could get a feel for their classroom. I wanted to see how their day was structured and how well they were getting along with their students. I was quite pleased with what I saw. It is also fun to see what new strategies are being used to teach basic skills. Every year I seem to learn something new from the teachers so I love to see what they come up with.
Luckily this year I haven’t had to deal with any behavior problems. Of course this was just the first week and I warned the teachers that this could still be the “honeymoon” period.
Every Tuesday we have a seminar where I introduce a topic or we discuss a specific topic. First I ask for the teachers to talk about their class and see if there are any issues we need to address. It is interesting to hear these comments and their perceptions of what is going in the classroom. Every week the teachers have to share their reflections of a lesson that I observed in a blog post. If you have time to look at their posts and leave a comment, I would appreciate it. The link showing the listing of the blogs is: Teacher Blogs.
Original photo by Pat Hensley