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    11th July 2012

    Summer school…

    Teaching summer school is the best. At least teaching for the It really is an ideal situation in many ways. I’m working with students who are going into 10th-12th grades and they are all students who are making up classes or trying to get better grades for eligibility or college application purposes.

    Linden is a *small* town, and was really a very stark contrast and strange transition from LA. Linden is about ten or twelve miles east of Stockton – and it’s basically ten miles of non-stop cherry orchards with a few other fields/orchards here and there. The summer school I’m working with is for migrant education students. To be classified as migrant and take advantage of the federal funding provided for the program, a student’s family has to have moved for agricultural purposes sometime in the last couple years.

    While the younger grades all have ten to twenty students and spend half the day working on math and the other half on writing, my combined high school class started at eight, and has dwindled every week because of students finishing their classes or leaving for various camps or other activities. Most of the time I have had between five and six students – and I have an assistant teacher, too. The students have been working on different subjects, depending on what they need, and with so few students I have more or less been able to create personalized plans for the students and then spend substantial time checking up on each student.

    I’ve been told that the individual who had my position last year did not engage with the students very much and that none of the students passed the exams they needed to finish their reclamation credits. This blows my mind because it is such a great opportunity to work with students in one-on-one or small-group situations, and to really focus on improving skills. AND the tests they have to pass really aren’t that hard as long as the students consistently work on the prep materials provided.

    Of course, keeping students on task and on track can be a challenge – whether it is with 40 students, 20 students, 8 students, or the two students that I have here today.

    Of my remaining three students, one is sick today; one is on his second class of the summer, trying to pick up his grades to be eligible for soccer; and the other student finished last week, but when his classmates asked if he was just going to stay home he said, “No way! I don’t want to miss out on all of the fun with Mr. H!” Now now he complains that I’m making him do extra work even though he’s done with his class (first I assigned him an essay to write about his favorite topic – Saturday Night Live Digital Shorts – and then I had him take math practice quizzes to keep his math skills sharp).

    Tomorrow is the last official day of summer school and then we’re going on a field trip. It was supposed to be to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, but the buses were not scheduled on time so instead we’re going to Sacramento for the state fair. This should be fun, but I would have been more excited to go to SF.

    Fortunately I DID get to go to San Francisco last weekend to visit my aunt and uncle who live in Marin – but I will save that for my next post. PS, you should check out the new Sauni’s Big Jump music!

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    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.