Saturday, May 7, 2016

Bob's Final Reflection

1. As I voiced around the fire last night, probably my favorite thing about being part of the What's the Story team is that it offers a connection to something greater than the typical scenario of one teacher in one classroom. It's refreshing to work with teachers and students from outside my own building, and that collaboration provides a broader perspective on the state of education in Vermont. And of course, there are the students. In many ways, these young people are the cream of the crop: they're independent, intelligent, motivated, and determined. Witnessing their enthusiasm and watching them adapt and grow over the course of the year has been a uniquely rewarding experience.

2. At the same fire I mentioned above, Bill gave students the floor to voice their opinions about how WtS might be improved next year. One of my own middle schoolers, Lydia, contributed her thoughts. Listening to her articulate comments reminded me of how far she's come this year, to the point where she's holding her own with high school juniors and seniors. Lydia herself is aware of the progress she's made, and has, during the course, reflected on how she's developed as a writer and thinker.

3. Probably one of the biggest challenges for me this year came as a result of not realizing at the outset how much of the course would be designed as we went; however, now that we've charted that territory, I suspect next year will be easier to navigate. Also, it was at times difficult to balance the responsibilities of WtS with the demands of my day job. There were periods of stress and mental exhaustion, but as a teacher, that comes with the territory!

4. I'm committed to a second year of participation in WtS. I'd like to:
  • recruit more students,
  • introduce the program to South Burlington High School,
  • continue to work with students as a mentor,
  • continue to host students at FHTMS (or any other location deemed suitable) for small group sessions,
  • take on more whole-group facilitation responsibilities as needed, and
  • remain flexible to help out in whatever ways might benefit the program.
5. Unfortunately, I'll be out of state nearly the entire summer. From mid-June to the start of August I'll be in Santa Fe for my second year of Bread Loaf, and for a week or two after that I'll be in Connecticut visiting family. Still, I'll do my best to keep in touch via email and contribute to WtS in such ways as I can.

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