Friday, April 17
Teaching for the Locals
The eighth graders from Idyllwild School, my Alma mater, were at Astrocamp this week. There was so much about their time with me that I loved, and a little bit that was kind of surreal. One of the main goals of Astrocamp is to foster team work and creative thinking in our students; I noticed right away that these are already very strong qualities in Idyllwild kids. While my co-teachers stood amazed at this I thought, well yeah, I remember focusing on team work from my very first PE class with Mrs. Gunterman in kindergarten on till eighth grade. One of the other instructors mentioned to our students that they would be playing some games that they had probably never played before and, while that throws some kids for a loop, it is just expected that physical activity will be nontraditional; anyone who has tin can stilts and rubber chicken relays as a regular PE activity would never think twice about what we do for team building at Astrocamp. Not to mention class trips to Joshua Tree with Boojum, Camp Surf, language arts field days, musicals, sports, choir, band, CIMI, and of course Astrocamp. These kids are built for this stuff.
Plus, never once were my classes interrupted because a squirrel ran past us or a woodpecker popped out of a tree. No shouts of "Squirrel! Squirrel! Look! Look!" I could offer real advice concerning local issues, because I actually know. Also, getting to know names was super easy because I already knew most of the kids in my group.
The weird stuff though; two of my former teachers were chaperons for the trip and that sometimes brought me back to my eighth grade self. After our class in the pool Mrs. Sazer came into the locker room to yell at the girls, "Go to your meeting spots! Meet with your instructors!" As I stood in the bathroom brushing my hair I thought "Oh man! I need to hurry up!" Then I realized that I was the instructor they were running to meet. As I paused to contemplate this she stuck her head in the door again and yelled, "Now!" I grabbed my bag and ran out the door with my students. The second instance of this type of thing was during my Cosmic Lander class, which is basically like an egg drop where you have to make a water balloon survive a drop onto a "martian surface." During the class I opened the door to the class next door, who were also building cosmic landers, and shot a rubber band at one of the kids I knew. This began a rubber band war, which I was confronted about later.
"Did you teach my kids how to fight with rubber bands?"
"Well yes, but in the name of science. I was teaching them about trajectories; the rubber band is like a comet traveling around a central mass. It's an Astrocamp only thing."
"Still a smart ass."
Posted by Kelly Visel