The title of this blog was the refrain of the second half of my summer of 2015. Far from bragging, though, this summer has been a true testament of how important community and support are in getting meaningful work done and feeling productive.
The first part of my summer was spent teaching for the Institute of Reading Development, a company based out of Novato, CA that employs teachers to teach reading classes to four year olds through adults all over the country. I completed a three week online training course to be prepared to teach each of the eight reading classes at the variety of levels. I taught six of the eight classes during the first five week summer session. I taught four year olds to adults, and it was quite a different experience than teaching college students! I was really excited by the books I got to teach, which included Cat in the Hat, Banner in the Sky, and one of my favorite novels ever- The Fellowship of the Ring. I read a lot of fun books and I did learn a lot about learning milestones, reading expectations in schools, and the variance between reading levels at different ages. I learned, too, that I am in the exact right career path. As much as I enjoyed my reading students, I missed working with college students. Their level of knowledge, confidence, and expectations are exactly where I enjoy teaching most and feel most useful.
I spent the second half of the summer working on three writing and research projects- two essays that I plan to use for the portfolio requirement for my Ph.D. program and an article manuscript that my ISU colleague, Laurenn York, and I have been working on for a couple years. I worked with a writing group, Casie, Jess, and Abby mainly (pictured on the left), for about four weeks before the start of the new school year, and though we were all working on different projects, the accountability, support, and resourcefulness of this group was such a help to me. The most marked difference between the first half of my summer and the second was that in the first half the work was quite markedly isolated (although, I much appreciated the support of my IRD supervisor and fellow teachers) and the second half of my summer was significantly aided by the writing group. Due to this concentrated work, I actually submitted three manuscripts to the publishers and/or to the editors to whom the work was due.
This summer was trying, tiring, inspiring, and edifying. I loved having some time off to spend with my dogs, cruise with my Dad's family in Caribbean, attend my cousin's baby shower in Albuquerque, NM, spend the 4th of July with friends in Durango, CO, and (though it coincided with the semester) attend another cousin's wedding in Italy. I'm ready, now, to jump back into the semester full force. I am teaching two classes that I have never taught before, and another class in a brand new setting; I am also taking a feminism & composition course (yay!), a teaching practicum, and completing an internship. Here we go!