May Term Teaching Interns have been off to an energetic start in their positions at the Primary School and Middle School campuses. Each student felt immediately welcomed into his or her classroom, as teachers introduced these seniors to the rituals and procedures that make up a very busy school day. The ease with which Teaching Interns assume the role of classroom leader for their younger students is remarkable, due, in part, to the Interns’ ability to call upon their own recent Primary and Middle School experiences. What is even more remarkable is the degree of insight each Intern gains into the vocation of teaching—in just a few days on the job!
Interns working with Ralph Pacifico as interns in the Primary School athletic program note the role of sports in younger children’s development. Says senior Charlie Richardson, “The moments in which Coach P teaches the kids sportsmanship really show me something I've never seen before as well. The kids are so understanding of the losing aspect of sports and really respect their peers no matter the situation.” Senior Angelo Weber, also working with Pacifico, echoes Richardson: “Getting to know all the kids has been truly amazing. We played a variety of games this week ranging from dodgeball to hockey to kickball…My highlight of the week was seeing the excitement of the kids after every little accomplishment throughout a class. It really put a smile on my face and reminded me why I love playing sports, for the happiness it gives me.” And Teaching Intern Brian Bond agrees: “We held a class where the interns took over a gym class with the Pre-K students and taught them how to play kick ball. All the kids get along well together and really enjoy seeing the interns at class, which makes the whole experience a whole lot more fun. If we're there, they always want us to play. It's nice to have such a positive impact on the kids’ days.”
Other interns at the Primary School have been immersed in multiple aspects of the students’ learning. Lily Gorodensky, a Teaching Intern in the Pre-K classroom of Caylie Marden and John Odell notes, “I have been doing a ton of reading with the kids.” She adds, however, that it’s not all academics. The school day of a Pre-K student also involves life lessons: “We have been focusing on their communication with other kids along with how they are able to share their toys with others.”
Jenna Donatiello has been working with Pat Parke’s first grade classroom. There, she has gotten the chance to revisit her own childhood passions, bringing them to her current internship. Says Donatiello, “During their quiet reading time, one of the little girls in Ms. Parke's class asked to read me a few chapters from her book, The Magic Tree House: Tonight on the Titanic. Magic Tree House was actually my favorite series when I was little. By the end of second grade I had read every single book in the series, so I think this was a really great bonding moment for us!”
At the Middle School, Bhavik Desai is working with Ken Smith in the Athletic Department. States Desai, “I have helped mentor all the grades through volleyball and tennis.” While teaching moments are many and often, it has also been eye-opening for these seniors to see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into setting up a class. Notes Desai, “I have done a lot of logistical work (putting up equipment, checking to see if it's OK to play certain outdoor sports, fixing stuff).” He has enjoyed getting the chance to work with Mr. Smith and other teachers who need assistance.
Many seniors comment upon the sheer diversity of subjects that any one teacher covers in a day. James Buckley is working with the fourth-grade team at the Middle School. Says Buckley, “The fourth graders are like little balls of energy that love to learn. I've done everything with them from helping them revise essays to helping them work through math problems to assisting with dance class. Mr. Jones even asked me if I would like to teach a class.” The immediate partnership that develops between Seniors and classroom teachers is powerful, creating an innovative leadership give-and-take in the classroom setting. For many teachers, it’s a chance to re-see what they do every day through the interns’ eyes.
David Carcamo interns by working with several science teachers at the Middle School. For Carcamo, a skilled scientist in his own right, translating his knowledge of science to the Middle School level has been a joy: “On Thursday, I went over the basics of friction with the students. I demonstrated air friction by dropping pieces of paper, which the students found amusing.”
And that image, of a senior engaging his kids in only the way a high school senior can, is what makes the May Term Teaching Internships a time of great learning for Senior Intern, Classroom Teacher, and Primary and Middle School student alike. We look forward to seeing more of what emerges!