Day Six? Check. First real teaching experience? Check. Best night of sleep I’ve had in a while? Check. This week was absolutely the top three most stressful, exciting, rewarding, and challenging experiences of my life … all balled up into a single event. Despite how little sleep and high stress I lived through I’m so glad I had the chance to experience it all.
Now for specifically Day 6, because I want to save some stuff for my final reflections. Today was presentations. Although we did set up for our campers and prepared most of our materials we really did leave so much of the actual presenting up to our campers’ decisions and preferences. We had some attendance problems (again) today which threw an early wrench into the equation but the four campers we did have show up did exceptionally well given the circumstances. Some roles were changed and some others were added to but the campers picked up the appropriate notecards and made each section of the presentation their own. It was really exhilarating to see our campers, who (just a week ago) were soaked to the bone and asking if squirrels could swim, and who now were presenting the different types of bacteria and how the chemicals in runoff can change the health of Lake Ontario, The Genesee River, and the wildlife that lives in those bodies of water.
The presentations, despite our team’s minimal prep work, went as close to flawless as I could have hoped for. All campers were engaged, presented their data in full, clear voices, and fielded questions from the Level 1 and 2’s with such ease and skill and it really made the past week’s struggles SO worth it. Hearing the campers define turbidity and pH was mindblowingly gratifying, as was seeing one of our quiet campers thoroughly explain safety and its importance while handling bacteria.
Overall, I’d give today an 11 out of 10. That being said, there were a few things that could have gone better. The biggest, and most prominent of these was our under utilization and poor placement of our trifold board. It eventually got shoved to one edge of the table to make room for the equipment (which turned out to be the more engaging of our presentation elements) and once our board presenter became a model for the equipment the trifold board became obsolete. However, our campers seemed to pick up on this because they each added some information from the board into their own portions of the presentation which did end up making up for it. Besides that, we had one camper that was less engaged and quiet than the others but I suspect that was because he was the only boy present in our group today. Otherwise, everyone spoke loudly, clearly, answered questions well, and best of all we got through our entire presentation in each round of rotations with time for one or two questions. I have trouble with that in my own presentations that I spend hours rehearsing, and there goes my campers nailing the presentation on their first formal attempt. It was all just so rewarding; I can’t wait to feel this feeling again in school!