Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer school memories


Eight days ago I interviewed for a teaching position at a local middle school. While I haven’t heard back either way from them, I assume I didn’t get the job. This is a disappointment, but I didn’t stay down long. Taking stock, although employment is a missing and necessary equation to my existence, I am not mired in stagnancy and enjoy a full and enriching life. I have a loving family, good health, good friends and neighbors, keep active and am proactive about improving my situation. I’ve learned that failure is only a temporary obstacle, and just as fleeting as success.

I also have faith that I will teach again and enjoy a long and successful career as an educator. Times are tough for prospective teachers, especially in Illinois. I know I could go to Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, or Colorado and have an easier time finding a teaching job. But for once I am determined to stay rooted. Spending time with Jonny and being there for him is more important than any wage. This is why I’ve limited my job search to within a 75-mile radius of DeKalb. This is where I’m wanted and needed. This is home.

As I was looking for samples of student work to show at the interview, I came across the following exit statements from my 2008 summer school students at South Elgin High School. I’ve left the students words intact. Last names are omitted to protect privacy. Their words were very encouraging, and in a couple cases, prophetic of what the rest of my experience was like teaching in District U-46. They also demonstrate the writing abilities of the students I worked with and, through the lens of their experiences, what lessons stood out for them.

ENRIQUE

“My favorite writing assignment is was the sceneniro one where you had to have to my a dream like scenerro. The thing I dislike about this class was the long essay assignment. Also I liked going to the computer lab every time.”

MARIA

“I liked the picture drawing because I like being creative.

I don’t like writing!

But then again that’s why I’m here.

You shouldn’t get mad so easily. Don’t take it personal! Your going to be a freshman teacher. I go to Elgin so im warning you be prepared!

They are immature.

But if your cool then they will participate but if you blow up then to them “you trippin” (big smiley face)

LUIS

“My favorite assignment was the Monster book we got to read. I really liked it and I wouldn’t have read it otherwise. It was pretty interesting and since he’s our age it makes the book that much interesting. What I didn’t really like was the Narrative Essay Assignment. I really don’t like writing and telling stories so, it was sort of hard for me to complete the assignment.”

BONNIE

“I liked this class because we did a lot of exciting assignments such as reading “Monster” and making an ad council. Also, learning how to blog and watching School Rock, or something like that.”

MARCUS

“I a good time I learn how to use my pronouns. My favorite thing was the PSA [public service announcement] because we got to get out of class.”

JOSE

"My favorite writing assignment is the one where we got the sentences from Monster and had to translate from slang to proper english. Then we had to write what we thought what a taste was. We also had to come up with three slang words and translate them to proper English. I thought that this class was pretty good.”

LAUREN

"* I enjoyed writting the blogs online. There were more opinion-based assignments involved and it was more personal. It's more fun to write about things that you actually care about. and you can get more easily involved. And teenagers are very computer savvy, so as long as they stay on task, it's a good assignment to give.

* What I would change: The PSA thing. I personally hate being in front of the camera and I feel like this assignment has taught me nothing about English. I really wish you would've offered an alternate assignment or at least given credit for all the work put into it, save for the actual video part."

RYAN

"Some things I learned in this class was that I got to use the blogger web site that I've never used before. Another thing I got out of this class was that I learned how to use my parts of speech better. Some things I didn't like about this class was all the writting that we did. Some other things I liked was going to the computer lab and using the internet."

RAFAEL

"The best assignment I have is the nightmare scene. It my best because I got a 30 out of 30. Also I gave a lot of imagination. Also it gave me a chance to write about something I want to. It let me express things I usally don't write. I liked that you were open minded. You agreed to things other teachers won't do in classes. Also you were a little funny. I would change the lame movies get something with color."

MIKE

"You did a god job! Keep up the good work!"

AUSTIN

"I thought that summer school sucked! Only because I couldn't go out at night with my friends, or stay up till four playing xbox. In class, what I liked about it was going to the computer lab. It made the day go by faster, and we could listen to music. The thing I didn't like was all the writing. I never wrote that much in my life."

BRIDGET

"This class was, in general, a pretty good class. I thought that the blogs were a pretty good idea because most students already knew a lot about technology. The art projects were also good assignments because they appealed to kinesthetic learners. Something I didn't like was the "School House Rock" songs. I really didn't enjoy coming home with the words "Lollo lolli lolli get your adverbs here" playing over and over and over again in my head. It wasn't even the educational part that got stuck in my head. Another thing I liked was the fact that we didn't have to write down all the answers to the questions and just said them all out loud. Overall, the class had more good points than bad."

ANTHONY

"In this class I liked doing the blog because it's fun going to the computer lab. Mr. Lacascio did a good job teaching us. I learned a lot about the different parts of speech and the writing process. Another thing that I liked was doing the posters. I liked the posters because I like to color and we didn't have to do a whole lot of writting. And when we did write it was mostly free writing, which was easy. We had a lot of freedom to do things in this class, like talk and listen to music. This class was a lot better than I thought it would be."

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