At the end of every school year, teachers are typically getting ready for a few months off. As mentioned in my previous blog “Summers Off?”, it doesn’t always mean that teachers are sitting around doing nothing. Even when taking a vacation a lot of time is spent thinking about the following school year. For example, while on a vacation to Maui a few years ago I spent quite a lot of time taking pictures of various types of plants to be used in our science unit. Some teachers go to conferences and other professional development opportunities. Other teachers teach summer school. Some do it for the extra pay (unfortunately teachers only get paid for the months we work). Those in special education may do it to continue work with their classes beyond the typical school year. This year, I am teaching summer school for a different reason. I am teaching it as a new adventure.
First a little background as to how it came about. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I was looking for some summer work. I was happy to act as a guest teacher for my colleagues who were teaching the special education summer school in our district. It would give me a little pay and still have time for a break from teaching. Then I got a text from a friend of mine. Turns out her husband (who happens to be the assistant principal at my daughter’s middle school) had been “selling” me as a candidate to teach a tech class for summer school. Apparently, my self-proclaimed title of “Tech Queen” had made its way to others in the district. While I was totally flattered that he would do it, I felt unsure about my abilities to do it. It is for a middle school class, and I have not taught anything beyond 6th grade in 22 years. Secondly, were my skills really up to teaching a strictly tech class? I use tech all the time with my students, but there is always an academic purpose.
While I was trying to decide if I would even talk to the summer school principal about the job (IF if was even offered), a song (“Try Everything”) suddenly found its way into my head (See my "Ok to Fail?" blog post for more.) Funny that something I have been stressing to the kids on a regular basis was making it easier for me to make another personal decision. Once I had made the choice, all I had to do was wait. Luckily that was only a few hours. It was the quickest (and easiest) interview either of us have had (yes, we both mentioned it during the call!).
The class I am going to be teaching is Animations/Graphics/3D printing. While I am pretty comfortable with the topics, I have a little bit of exploring to do myself before the class starts in July. I am going to be teaching the topic with another teacher (this one from a local high school) which makes it a little easier to deal with some of the questions I might have about my adventure. Since we are leading the first sessions of this class for summer school, we are starting with a blank slate. That alone is kind of exciting. While I have a lot of freedom in my classroom in how I am accessing the standards for the students, this adventure takes on a whole new meaning to what teaching is about.
I look forward to this new adventure. Middle schoolers should be interesting. Having a different course topic will provide a break from what I usually do, while giving me a chance to expand what I can do with next year’s class as well.
20+ year teacher, mother of 2 kids and 2 dogs, wife, lover of all things M&M, interested in tech in the classroom, and changing up my teaching