This week I'm thrilled to be teaming up with the Frenzied SLP's for my very first linky party - #SLP Strong!
The best thing I learned this summer was that working with older students was not nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be and actually ended up being pretty fun.
Working exclusively with preschoolers during the school year, I was a little anxious to learn I would be working with middle and (gulp) high school students this summer.
It's been a long time since I've worked with students that age. Could I help them meet their goals? What materials was I going to use? I mean they're just so . . . big! This definitely required me to step outside my comfort zone. But I'm always up for a challenge and in the end I'm grateful I embraced it.
I've grown to expect ESY (Extended School Year, aka "summer school") to be chaotic the first few days with learning students' names, getting familiar with their goals, and just finding a time to fit everyone in. Add to that an unfamiliar population of students with an extremely wide range of needs and I was starting to feel in over my head.
As educators we're often perfectionists by nature and can have a tendency to be too hard on ourselves. I recall one session in particular in which I attempted to play the game "Scattegories." As I watched the sand in the little plastic hourglass drain, my students sitting motionless, pencils poised, expressions perplexed, I realized it was a complete flop. Even I was having difficulty coming up with a U.S. city that started with the letter "K."
Instead of pushing it I admitted defeat, but as I dejectedly began putting the dice and blank pads of paper back in the box, the topic of the Gold Cup Soccer play-offs came up. Intrigued I inquired further and listened as my students excitedly retold details of the match the night before, expressing opinions of their favorite players, and which team they hoped would win it all. They were developing arguments and backing them up! Comparing and contrasting teams! Listening, responding, and practicing interpersonal communication skills! Most importantly they were having fun. Hey maybe this session wasn't such a disaster after all.
This was a great lesson for me that with any population, from preschool to high school, it pays to be flexible, interested, and engaged.
And yes maybe I did luck out with an incredibly kind, courageous, not to mention hilarious group of young people this summer, but as ESY drew to a close I was definitely feeling a little more confident working with older students, a feeling I'm hoping to carry with me as I transition from early intervention to a K-8 school this fall.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's still going to be a huge learning curve, but naturally I'm up for the challenge. Because after all we're #SLP Strong right? ;)
Secret Word ***FLICKER***