Saturday, July 02, 2005

Fifth Week

The fifth week is done. It was a low-key week as the first-years had both Monday and Friday off and the second-years are gone for the summer.

This was the last week of EDSE 500, which is the first class that participants in our program take. This year the class was taught by Ms. Ann Monroe for the first time (but hopefully not the last). I didn't know Ann when Germain recommended her several months ago. She traveled down to Belzoni with Germain and I in the Spring to visit some of our teachers and we had a good time. I thought she would do well with the class, as did Germain. We were both wrong. Ann was outstanding. She basically built the class from scratch (after incorporating some general themes that Germain and I wanted covered). She generated an enormous amount of material (you can see her powerpoints on our website) and covered all the basics of lesson planning and classroom management, which is not an easy task when you consider how broad those two topics are. We do evaluations of all teachers and classes and the students loved Ann as well. Germain and I met this week and our hope is for Ann to co-teach the fall class with Germain and to teach all of the first-year classes next summer.

The last class for Ann was on Thursday afternoon and I told the first-years that in the same way they are starting to trust what we're doing with the program and buy into the Teacher Corps, Ann has as well. I think we've got her hooked on this program, its goals, and the quality of students in the program. As I told Ann, "How often in life do you get to be a part of building something that is the best?"

We had another student speaker this week: Jasmine from Hollandale. I coached her older sister and knew Jasmine a little bit when I taught in Hollandale. She was in Oxford visiting her sister for the week so I had her come and talk to the first-years. As when Ashley spoke several weeks ago, the first-years were completely engaged. So much of the program focuses on the kids, and how to be a good teacher to these kids, and yet until they start teaching in the fall they rarely, if ever, get a chance to talk with students from the schools that we go into. Jasmine did a great job. She talked about how her father (who was the school counselor when I taught at Simmons) and her three older sisters (all of whom graduated from college) have inspired her.

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