Three corps members sitting at a table together.

Summer Training 2018: Dispatch #4

Every summer, we welcome our new corps members to Summer Training; seven weeks of team building, pedagogy classes, social justice seminars, and teaching observation and practice. This summer, a Summer Training staff member and a 2018 corps member will be blogging about their on-the-ground experiences!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

If I were to sum up what my journey in Summer Training has been like thus far in one word, it would be supportive. Going into training, we were told by staff and alumni that Summer Training was going to be intensive and exhausting, and they were definitely right. Our days begin at 7:30am. We teach in the morning, meet with an execution coach after teaching, have seminars focused on culturally responsive teaching, go to content sessions to rehearse and discuss lesson plans, and then we head home at 5pm.

With that being said, the amount of support that I have gotten from other corps members, staff, and coaches has been absolutely amazing. I have been reflecting quite a bit on what my experience would have looked had I not had a community supporting my growth, and I surely would not be in the position I am right now. Because of the support that they provide, I am able to thrive and see how I am progressing in a summer that is jam-packed and at times overwhelming. The environment I get to work in everyday makes an intentional space for questions, humility, and vulnerability.

"The amount of support that I have gotten from other corps members, staff, and coaches has been absolutely amazing (...) The environment I get to work in everyday makes an intentional space for questions, humility, and vulnerability."

Coming in to Training, I was not prepared to receive this level of support, and it is clear that my coaches, Chase Sheaff (Chicago-Northwest Indiana, '12), Taylor Showalter (Chicago-Northwest Indiana, '14), and Monique Smith (Chicago-Northwest Indiana, '14) are working extremely hard to be a source of encouragement and motivation while showing me where I’m doing well, and areas where I can push myself. I get so excited when they walk into my class of 1st graders, who are an absolute joy, to observe because I know that they will have constructive feedback that I can internalize and incorporate the following day. They all have gone above any expectation that was set, and I know that even after Training, I can lean on them.

While my coaches’ support has been wonderful, I would be remiss if I did not recognize how helpful and thoughtful the corps members I work with have been. My co-lab partner for ELA, Gabby Hughes, gives me emotional and mental support when I need it most. She reaffirms my abilities as a teacher when I doubt them and she is always willing to listen and offer words of encouragement while I tell her how the lesson went. Patrick Kelly, who teaches 1st grade ELA next to us has also been such an amazing resource and friend. We are constantly bouncing ideas off each other for how to create engaging post-reading activities and brainstorming text dependent questions that build up to our lesson’s over-arching question.

Without this cohort of people, and many others that I did not list, I know for certain that I would not walk into my classroom feeling as amazing as I do nearly each day. It is getting bittersweet now that we only have a few more weeks left, but I am so excited to continue this journey with everyone beyond Summer Training.