Summer school is weirdly near and dear to my heart. A coworker who started working for the District talked another coworker and I into teaching during the summer three years ago at an off-campus meeting and I haven’t really looked back. Summer school looks a little different for us, as our students (all recent immigrants) arrive throughout the year. Most of the students in summer school are doing credit recovery, but it’s because they were in another country (or – let’s be real – in a detention center in the United States) instead of at our school. It began as a good way to keep an eye on some of my advisees (and pick up some extra pay) and I’ve just decided to keep doing it.
I was terrified of teaching summer school this year (June 2019). In some ways, this was odd. I taught in the same classroom I summer taught last year (next door to the classroom in which I student taught) using the same curriculum from the last 3 years (which I cobbled together 3 years again using my planning partner and my greatest hits from Algebra and Geometry). But, after 5 years of teaching 9/10 mathematics, I switched to the 11th grade team, where I taught Algebra 2 (and a double block mathematics support class. And an Early College Support class. And an Internship class). I am terrified that I have forgotten all the tricks of the 9/10 trade.
On the first day of school, I recognize one student I know (in fact, it will take me at least 2 weeks to figure out which students are from the school I teach at during the school year and which students are from other schools) and quickly rely on them. Pass out the papers? Start the class? Convince me that I haven’t totally lost my touch?
Things turn out just fine. Interestingly, patterns at summer school reflect what we’ve seen at our school throughout the year. After a few years of lower enrollment, there are suddenly many more recent immigrants in our school district. I start out most of my classes with 7 tables instead of the 4 tables that my smallest summer school class ended up with last year. We do some work with group roles. I speak a lot of Spanish. I fake grumble at one class – and one kiddo – in particular, because I want to encourage him to be on time and I think they can be more focused. I wonder if it’s enough time.
As we roll into the school year, I find myself back on the 9/10 floor more frequently. And strangely enough (or perhaps, not strangely at all), many of the connections I find are the students I taught in summer school, who are now at least vaguely familiar. Even if the summer isn’t enough time, maybe there’s still enough time.