Friday, January 20, 2012

Summer school

Today was the fifth and last day of summer school. It's an event we run for students destined for stage 3 maths in year 12. Students benefit from being ready from the start of term, are more organized and are given guidance on material to be presented during the new year.  Teachers and tutors get experience working in a university environment.

Two of the presenters cancelled just before the first day, I had been sick for the majority of the holidays and I was left with the decision of cancelling the event or trying to do the event with a relief teacher, four pre-service teachers and some student graduates from 2011 that offered to help. I had three streams of students from year 10-12, 42 students and I couldn't do it on my own.

We went ahead anyway and everyone stepped up. The students were positive from the start all the way to the last day. Some had cancelled holidays overseas to be there. Brian, our ever ready math relief teacher, stepped in when I would have been overwhelmed otherwise. The pre-service teachers responded to each of their strengths - leading through preparation, personality, warmth and enthusiasm. They completed the tasks assigned to them with the year 10's and then stepped into the gaps left by the missing presenters for the 11's and 12's. It was a real team effort and awesome to watch. 30 of the 32 students that attended on the last day said that they would be back next year, with the 2012 year 12's showing real enthusiasm to come again and give the benefit of their experience.

All of the year 12 student helpers from 2011 were fantastic, but one really shone, as he showed the new year 12's how to navigate a wide range of problems. He stayed for the entire week and demonstrated what hard work could really achieve. He had nothing to prove by coming, he was our school dux in 2011, and I hope he saw what a difference he can make in the world.

With such a large number of people coming together and actively achieving something, (especially when I was at 50%) it quickly became another of the inspirational events of my career. To watch four summer schools, and then watch the benefit for attending students during the year and the growth in the pre-service teachers, it tells me that it is more than just another school event. Hopefully those involved understand the wonderful thing they have done. There's no doubt it could and will be done better, but that as they say, is a problem for another day.

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