The Five Most Important Things I Learned This Winter:
Being an EIR has been such a rewarding experience both personally and professionally. We’re able to become part of a community and incorporate TLS into students and teachers everyday lives. The experience requires you to navigate a new school environment, getting to know the teachers and students and building relationships with both to be able to provide formal and informal TLS curriculum within their traditional classrooms. -Mims, Bucksport Middle School
- I learned that a restorative circle can be used at any age level in any circumstance. – Kelsea, Bristol Consolidated School
- I am so privileged to have served as Lyman Moore’s Educator in Residence. I learned how to build relationships with students from myriad cultures by building their trust , to help them achieve their goals. – Leah, Lyman Moore Middle School
- This winter at Loranger Middle School has really taught me to appreciate each and every interaction with students regardless of what we are talking about or how long the conversation is. If you go out of your way to be kind and respectful to students, they almost always return the favor. It has been a blast and a privilege to work with all of the students at Loranger and I will really miss spending my days here. – Paul, Loranger Middle School
- I cannot stress enough how important it is to build connections with your students. It’s one thing to know their strengths and weaknesses in the classroom; however, it is equally important to get to know them beyond that context. When you make an effort and show a genuine interest, you are showing students that you care, which allows them to comfortably open up to you. At King, I was personally able to connect with students by teaching our curriculum, providing academic support in their core classes, seeing them in gym, volunteering with the track team and eating lunch with them. The relationships I have built are based on a foundation of taking time to learn things about the students that I wouldn’t be able to learn by just teaching them. In the words of Jim Grout, “When all else fails, give them your heart – Sam, King Middle School
Final Words From Tyler Pace…
It’s been such an honor and a pleasure serving the Searsport community, and I can’t think of any place in the world I’d rather have spent the winter. Each day offers up interactions with amazing young people and phenomenal educators, and each day proves the value of what we’re doing with the EIR program.
If I could summarize this value I’d point to a trip I just took with the Sophomore Class to Kieve. It was the students’ second journey to the end of the West Neck Road (they came in the 8th grade, as well) and proffered a great bookend to their TLS experience. We laughed and played in the snow. We had a big fire at the point and slid around on the thick ice covering the lake. We talked about goals and addressed concerns. We sent it on the Target Jump in the Buck. At the end of the program, short though it was, the students unanimously agreed that the class felt more together and relaxed. They felt less stressed and more confident. I heard a lot of laughter.
As I walked through the halls of the high school this morning, knowing I only have two more days as an EIR at Searsport, I felt sad and happy all at once. Sad, because I knew I’d have to leave what can only be described as an amazing place to work and play. Happy, because I could sense that our organization has, in some small ways, enabled and empowered this community to celebrate its strengths and face its struggles with positive determination.