Andrew – MEC Summer Corps Member
Refugee Education Center
The “aha moment”. That’s what every teacher strives for. It’s the moment they all hope to see – the moment when the light bulb turns on and the student “gets it”. I have seen that happen repeatedly over the course of the summer, those moments of struggle for the student when they just don’t get something, but as soon as it is explained to them enough or in the right way, something clicks, and they understand. Small victories. But even more rewarding is seeing the culmination of all those small victories when the student shows progress over the course of several weeks or months. Especially now at this summer period ends, I can look back and see all the progress that my students made over the course of the last eight weeks.
I saw this with one of my porch session kids in particular. When I tested her at the beginning of the summer, it was obvious that she was extremely low in reading. She knew virtually no letters or letter sounds, and I knew I’d have to start her on the basics. So we worked hard at letters and letter sounds throughout the summer, and I also had her practice blending sounds together to make basic words. By the end of the summer, she is able to recognize many of these words by sight and say them without even having to sound them out. This made me so thrilled. I wasn’t sure how much progress she would make or if I would even be able to help her very much, but she really exceeded my expectations, and I’m so proud of her.
And some students show they’ve made progress in other ways. One student I taught at the center showed remarkable improvement in his social skills, and became much more comfortable interacting with others. And on the last day of class, he gave me a hug and cried! This showed me how much of a difference I had made in his life, and let me know I had done something right.
Seeing the progress of these students has been so gratifying, and I’m so happy that I could make a difference in their lives this summer.