I loved the other paras I worked with. We helped each other out and all the subs that came in were great too! There was also a worker pretty close to my age that is a social worker during the year and reminds me quite a bit of a friend from college who is also a school social worker.
The kids! Most were so happy to be there and most did great work for the four weeks. Some students were harder to reach than others but all seemed to respond well to the summer program - much better than I was expecting.
A couple students frequently gave me compliments and reminded me that we are friends. Such a simple act of kindness with no strings attached. They weren't trying to get out of work so I know they meant it.
One of my students had a major breakthrough one day. He never initiates conversation or asks to do what he wants. We all want him to ask for something as opposed to dictating how is day has to go. One day we decided to make grilled cheese and everyone had to take turns. When this student saw the cooking station was open he walked up to me and asked to make a sandwich to which I replied of course! And inside I was screaming yes he did it!
While not as specific of a highlight, I was impressed and excited to see how many students increased their ability to use their dynavox (a computer generated voice). They were able to navigate between different screens and form complete answers to questions they were asked.
I felt like I made a difference in someone's life and in a big way. These kids really benefit from coming to school for a couple hours over the summer and I was glad I could help!
Last but not least, all the student helpers. Middle and high school students came and helped us work with the kids. It was nice to see peer interaction, which can be so much more useful for some of the social goals than having teachers doing all of the work and asking. It's amazing to see how many students took time out of their summer to get up early and work with our class. Many thanks to all of them (although I'm sure none read this blog). We gave them a pizza party at the end of camp to thank them - it was wonderful.
Check out more quick takes at conversiondiary.com