Thursday, July 31, 2014

As our time here is coming to an end, I look back and can’t believe how far we all have come from that very first day.  I remember a team member remarking how we felt like “lambs going to the slaughter”that first Monday – not knowing exactly how we would connect with the children and be able to provide meaningful service.

On Tuesday we all felt a little more comfortable as we had gotten past that first day of instruction and getting to know each other.

By Wednesday we were on a roll in our classroom of 4th graders.  We had a very bright group of students and had to be well-prepared to engage them.  We certainly had to stay on our toes – or shall I say  “footfingers” as one student thought they were called!


2nd grade fun.

2nd grade fun.

Julie and 4th graders.

Julie and 4th graders.

We found the “special formula” that worked for our class—two periods of structured learning followed by an outside learning activity and concluding with a final period of working in small groups.  Everyday became easier and the lessons started to flow naturally.  Trust was built, friendships were formed, connections were made and learning actually happened!

The students flourished as we guided them through learning the harder body parts, identifying things they would find in different rooms of their homes, practicing proper sentence structure, the introduction of a new concept – spatial words, and finally learning a new song.

By the end of this week, we felt as if we all really did connect and provide meaningful service. The quiet girl learned to yell out an answer, the mischievous boy learned after only one time out that S – E – X was NOT an appropriate word to spell with the letter tiles, and the brightest student fell in line as our class assistant teacher guiding his fellow classmates if they seemed confused on something we were doing.

As we encouraged their learning, we saw them encourage each other.  One little girl kept helping the boy next to her with his work and I asked her to please let him try it on his own.  She looked up at me and replied, “But Miss Val, we team”.  Yes, we certainly were – and a darn good one too!

— Val

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