Monday, May 9, 2016

Courtney's Final Reflection

Favorite moments from the year:
1. The day Emily and Shoshana left to interview Commissioner Flynn. The note they left on my desk at school said that they were on their way and that they were a "bundle of nerves." This moment speaks to the fun and funny times I had in general with these two students and with the entire Dispatch Cuts group. Having had each of the members of this group as traditional classroom students, it was especially rewarding for me to work with them in this unique environment. Seeing the progress that Brynna and Brennan have made in 2 years was encouraging and informative for me and for my practice.

2. Meeting and working with other WtS?! educators. In my mind, there's no better professional development.

3. Saturday, May 7th, 9:00 PM: I opened my e-mail to find a note from Emily: she wants to do WtS again next year!?!?! The tenacity of WtS students is inspiring! Today at school a teacher at MUMS complimented Emily and Shoshana on the "Honorable Mention" their group received (the teacher had seen this news on Facebook). A bunch of other kids tuned in and wanted to know all about the work. An eavesdropper exclaimed, "I'm going to do that next year!" Pretty cool to watch kids get excited about other kids' work.

4. (Can I sneak in a 4th?) The final products (I've seen three of them) are awesome.

5. (How about a 5th?) The impromptu snow sculpture/symbol activity at January's retreat still lingers with me as a very good moment.

6. ( I have more, but will stop after this) The speakers at the retreats were excellent.

2. Please describe one or two specific anecdotes that convey your best experiences with this year’s WtS learners.  

Maybe I did this a little above -- should have read all the questions before jumping in. 

Seeing how a group of 20-some-odd nervous 7-12th graders on opening day transformed into a (somewhat smaller) cohort of sub-teams, and tracing where these teams went and what they accomplished was powerful. 
3. What are 2 - 3 challenges / irritations of being part of the WtS Team this year?

1. The learning scales were well-designed and touched on standards-based skills that kids need to know. However, the use of the scales felt inconsistent to me, and although I am an adult educator on the "team," I feel in the dark about how and if final proficiency scores are being given.

2. Sharing this experience with Ben was great because we don't usually get to work together with kids (other than our own). However, this presented the challenge of having to switch off for the overnight dates, which left me feeling a bit in the dark afterwards (which speaks to the power of the overnights and how much is accomplished at these gatherings).

3. Lesson planning is a double edged sword: it's time consuming, frazzling and mind-boggling, but it's also rewarding and exciting. While it's nice to sit back and let someone else take the wheel, I wish there were a part of the program over which I had more personal ownership/collaborative freedom.

3. As we head into this summer, we’ll be looking to make an even stronger WtS Team, and we’re interested in learning whether, and to what degree, you’d like to continue with the team. In this upcoming round, we’ll have more flexibility this year to create a variety of ways for individuals--Bread Loafers and non Bread Loafers--to join our team and serve our learners. Would you like to remain on our team, and if so, please describe bullet / list the way(s) you’d like to contribute to our team?

I would like to stay involved with WtS, but I am taking a summer off from courses at Bread Loaf, so I am not sure what this means/looks like for me as a team member. I can see myself staying involved in a multitude of ways, depending on the need, flexibility and direction of the program:

-- community cheerleader (I have been selling WtS? to MUMS' 8th graders all year. This week I am showing them some of the final products and talking up the program. I've had many students say they want to pursue WtS? when they get to high school)

-- middle school point of contact (will middle schoolers be invited to apply next year? If not, is there a way middle school teachers could collaborate in tandem with WtS in future years?)

-- mentor (As I prepare to say goodbye to the students I've worked with at MUMS for two straight years, it's hard to imagine passing up the opportunity to work with them again in the future -- they're so awesome!)

4. If you’d like to continue with our team, will you be around this summer and/or able to contribute to the refining / re-designing? 


5. Finally, please share any lingering ideas / questions about this year’s and/or next year’s experience being a member of the WtS Team.

No comments:

Post a Comment