Intern Reflections: Crystal
Progress Report: For the first three weeks of my internship, the majority of my time was spent at a desk and on my laptop. I researched science experiments that were both safe and fun. I created activities that were both educational and engaging. I was determined to be true to the neighborhood flyer that titled my class “Science is Fun”. Countless hours, however, did not prepare me enough for that first class. My lesson plan was organized and precise, very unlike the kids who would walk through the doors of the community center that first day. Remaining patient was the most difficult part of the day. I had to make sure that the kids had everything they needed, that the volunteers understood the curriculum for the day, and that all the parents’ questions were being addressed. When the class finally started and the activities commenced, I was relieved to see the kids enjoying themselves and cheering when I asked if they were ready for the next experiment. The most rewarding part of my day was saying goodbye to the kids. At the end of the day, even the kids who struggled through the three hour class approached me and said “Thank you teacher”.
The Big Picture: Organizing the summer science class has taught me the importance of balance.
Not only should I be fun and friendly when addressing the kids, I should also be firm when giving instructions or handling materials. Not only should I be rigid about following safety rules, I should also be flexible if an experiment does not go as planned. I cannot get so fixated on my lesson plan that I lose touch with how the kids are doing. By my second class, I was able to rely more on my volunteers and walk around the room. I received input from the kids on which activities they liked and what lessons intrigued them. My original goal of having a well-run class was no longer relevant. The most important thing was that the kids had a genuine curiosity about the world around them. One of my favorite experiments was creating earthquake-safe buildings from marshmallows and toothpicks. In a sense, I too was trying to create a stable foundation. This foundation would allow the kids to look back on my class and see that learning is invigorating and that science truly is fun.