School's out for the Summer
Last August, no sooner did I get accepted to the University of Bridgeport than I received a call, inviting me to interview at Darien High School for my internship. I went in, had a lovely chat, went home and a few days later got the call telling me I would be a part of the staff come January.Suddenly, it’s June and today is the final day of the semester. The seniors graduate later today while I sit in one of my elective courses. How fast the time has felt, much like parenthood.When I arrived, I was welcomed warmly by the English faculty, given a desk among them and was often requested to cover for them when absent. I was accepted as a part of the group for lunches and some after-school social activities. I was even invited to join the department picture for the high school yearbook (although I’m listed as Mr. Greenberg).It took some time, but the kids got used to my presence as I was beginning to place names to faces. Without the repetition regular classroom teachers experience, it certainly took me far longer and certainly, more of them figured out my name before I knew theirs. I remember the thrill I felt for a number of firsts: the first time a student called me by name, the first who waved “hi” in the hall, the first someone called me “Mr. G.”Interestingly, I learned more girl names than guy names as they seemed more interested in actually talking to me. The guys took far longer to warm up and many proved to witty wise-asses.Being an intern meant being the first one called on to sub so I gave tons of tests and worksheets, showed countless videos, and tried to stay engaged despite the tedium. On those few opportunities I was given an actual syllabus to work from, I loved it. I could engage the students in conversation, imparting knowledge and directing discussion. The Into to Journalism kids were an uninspired bunch the first two times I dealt with them, but it was fun watching them get more engaged. And as I proved intelligent to them, they actually came to me for help during class assignments. That was a nice development.I got to observe many teachers in many settings, invited to watch in other departments which happened all too rarely. There were also fabulous opportunities to get graduate work done – planning periods or during tests. It helped make the grueling schedule manageable, relieving the pressure of my own reading and writing assignments.When people heard I was coming back for the fall, the news was positively received which made me feel better.As this winds down, I still have two weeks left in my summer courses but I am then will have eight glorious weeks to myself. I will read what I want and do some freelance writing and recharge. Watching the faculty get through the stress of finals and posting grads before graduation, all I hear is how much they’re looking forward to time off. Now I know exactly how they feel.