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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Best Thing I Learned this Summer


Hi friends!

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***




9 comments:

  1. Love the quote! And what a jump from PK to secondary. Thanks for sharing your insights!
    All Y’all Need

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    1. One of my favorites too Laura:) Thanks for the comments! So happy I could link up!

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  2. While my favorite age to work with is PK-2, there is definitely something to be said for the older kids. I guess one of the best things about being #SLPStrong is the variety that comes with our jobs!:)

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  3. It is very intimidating stepping out of your comfort zone, but I have found you learn a lot when you do. I will be working in a high school this year and I am terrified. But reading your post has definitely given me some peace of mind.

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    1. Totally know the feeling Erin, but in the end you're right, it's how we grow. Glad you're having a little more peace of mind. You may be surprised how much you like it! Trust your skills. You got this:)

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  4. Thanks for sharing! High schoolers would be really tough for me, too! Good for you!

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  5. I felt trepidation with every new population, too, but it makes us more flexible and gives us a wider knowledge base. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I hear ya! I feel this way almost every time I have a new student. That's a big age jump! Neat experience though!

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