After what seemed like a short summer vacation, we return once again to those tiled halls, colorful classrooms, and bubbly teacher’s lounges. School let out in good ol’ Missouri just before June. There was about 12 days off then summer school started.
This was my first time teaching summer school and I was placed at a different school. I took on the role of ELL Teacher at a new building, with new faces and two different schools combined within. I experienced a new demographic of ELL students than what I’m used to and was completely on my own for the 20 days. Summer school, at least at that school, wasn’t like anything I was used to. When I was little and attended the Summer Adventure School program, we did normal academia in the morning and the afternoon was filled with hands-on, creative electives that we chose. I took classes like LEGO Movie Making and Go Karts Plus, where we built our own go karts out of wood and raced them.
Summer school where I was back in June consisted of a lot of videos/movies, outdoor fitness, and fuse bead art. I was also in a setting where the regular ELL teacher mostly used the “push-in” method, where she stepped into the regular classrooms to assist students with their work. For me, and this summer school set-up, the “pull-out” method is my go-to. Most of the students were fluent and all the older students questioned their placement in ELL every single day. They were unaware of the great services they should have been receiving regularly. Perhaps, titles weren’t properly given to the students via ELL teacher or the students weren’t seen too often. Regardless, it made my experience challenging but also more rewarding. It gave me the confidence to come back in the Fall to my own classroom and finally take charge.
That’s right, my own classroom! It still hasn’t fully sunk in on my end, but I have happily taken over the ELL Teacher position at my (current) dream school. Now that I’m officially a teacher here, I don’t think I can refer to it as my dream school anymore. It still feels like a wondrous dream to me. My incredible mentor from the past 1.5 years retired after she finished out summer school here. I was left with a room filled with various curriculum boxes and activities to teach English to my newcomers and visiting scholars.
Another stepping stone I reached in July was starting my Master’s Degree. I’m working towards earning my Master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language PreK-12th through Western Governor’s University online. I almost finished with my first course on culture. The program was fairly easy to get into and is very straight-forward. So far so good!
It’s going to be a busy first year teaching but an incredible experience to say the least!