Friday, June 03, 2005

First Week

The first week of summer training has finished and I'm exhausted. This is always one of the busiest weeks of the year for me. The first-years started on Tuesday morning and the second-years started on Thursday morning so we had a lot going on.

On Tuesday morning it was nice to finally meet the first-years after talking and emailing with them for so long. We had one that didn't show up. No calls, no emails, just didn't show. Dr. Mullins called him and the guy said he had changed his mind. I couldn't believe it. The final number is 28 first-years, our largest class ever. And our youngest with the average age being 24.

We had orientation for two days with the first-years. Joe Sweeney (a second-year) and I both did Powerpoint presentations which you can view at under "Powerpoint." Joe's presentation was great and the second-years really seemed to appreciate his insights. Dr. Mullins and Germain both did excellent presentations as well. Dr. Mullins talked about the history of education in the Delta and Germain focused on being an effective teacher.

By Thursday afternoon (the first official day of student teaching in the mornings and class in the afternoon) one of the first-years raised his hand and said, "I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment." All of the MTC alumni out there know the feeling. The biggest reason is that we are going from 0-60 in a snap. We have eight weeks to prepare these teachers and time is precious. They student teach in the morning and take EDSE 500 "Foundations of Education" in the afternoon. By Friday morning some of them were already responsible for their own students as many of the "veteran" teachers at the summer schools are actually first year teachers as well. In the long run this will help our teachers but in the short run it is tough. It is the very first step on a long journey. And that journey is a rewarding one. Again, the MTC alumni know what I am talking about.

Mid-way through that journey are the second-years, having just completed their first year teaching and enjoying the laid back atmosphere of the second summer which involves only morning classes. I had three of the second-years (Eric Matte and Matt and Dan Bauers) do study sessions for the first-years that still need to take the Praxis II (a standardized test required for teacher certification). I set them up at three different tables and then anticipated having to introduce everyone and lay out the parameters of the session. Nope. The three of them are teachers now and once they sat down and started I didn't have to do a thing. It was wonderful to see and I told them Friday morning, "I remember a year ago when you were green as hell." I was so impressed that I pulled Germain out of the break room so he could watch.

When I started this job two years ago the goal Germain and I had was to make this the best alternate-route teaching program in the country. We both feel that we have achieved this now. Germain and I are both harsh critics and we feel confidant that we are the best. More importantly we have statistical evidence to back this up (see the Powerpoints). In years past I would sit in on a lot of the workshops and classes because important things were missed. Now, I don't feel that I have to spend as much time with the first-years because everything is running smoothly. If I need something (a presentation; help with a social; workshop ideas) I just ask the second-years and it gets done. No checking up or following up required. I know once they volunteer it is as good as done. And that is a nice feeling.

No comments: