Woodland’s Educator in Residence: Neil
I have been looking forward to continuing my EIR experience at Woodland Junior High school this winter. The past two years doing EIR in the Searsport School District have produced some amazing memories for sure. Moving on from Searsport was pretty difficult but the down east community of Woodland, Maine has already welcomed me with open arms. The Leadership School has done countless outreaches to Woodland in the past couple of years which has made the faculty very trusting of my day to day programming.
Woodland Junior High S chool is a very small school community. They have one lunch period that fits every student in the school into the cafeteria at once. This makes it very fun and easy for me to walk around and chat with students while they eat. I work with every grade with a focus on 7th and 8th grade. These 7th and 8th graders are in a very critical position in terms of the necessity to improve their kindness and respect for others and communication with their teachers and peers. The gym teacher has also welcomed me into his class whenever I can make it. This week we are teaching the 7th grade boys and girls the fundamentals of football. This was a great opportunity to reinforce kindness and respect as well as sportsmanship while learning a a new sport.
This week I have also linked up with a 10th grade teacher and her class to help them be more confident in public speaking and conducting interviews. They are going to be interviewing veterans from around the area. My goal for these older students (9th-12th) is to use Leadership School curriculum that emphasizes real life situations that they will encounter post high school. It has been a blast working with these older students because it has forced me to make some of our classic TLS curriculum more advanced to meet this demographic. My processing time is very hands off due to the students knowing how to brainstorm effectively.
My favorite part about working in the Woodland school district is the hometown feel you get while walking in the hallways. Teachers know family members of students, the basketball games are packed with people from the surrounding areas, and their is little disrespect (if any) towards teachers. I am looking forward to the next 7 weeks in down east Maine!
Bristol’s Educator in Residence: Kelsey
Working at Bristol Consolidated School these last two winters has been the most meaningful part of my KW experience and I’m profoundly grateful to be back for a third. Students I’ve known for years have grown into more thoughtful, considerate young people, teachers openly offer for me to jump into their classrooms and every day I’ve found new creative ways to contribute to this community. I can’t imagine that most people my age get to feel so connected and proud of the communities they live in right after college.
Being an EIR at BCS means being willing to say “yes”, supporting teachers with large class sizes, being a role model to all students, and serving as an ambassador of Kieve Wavus Education. From the moment I walked through the front doors this winter, I have been carefully bombarded with different ideas and suggestions by various teachers, some who I’ve worked with before but also many who I only peripherally interacted with in other years. In addition to organizing TLS activities with each class, I’ve been pulled into doing more specialized mentoring, individual one on one support for my buddy in kindergarten and in informal group lunch settings with the eighth graders I’ve worked closely with the
last two years. As the resident “Kieve person”, the students ask me about Kieve all the time; while the younger ones ask about the climbing wall and vacation camps, older students who have participated in Local Schools week and KW leads ask me about their educators from previous visits, still clearly impacted and curious about the KW staff they’ve worked with previously.
Taking advantage of the relationships and trust I have cultivated over the last two winters, I’ve been able to build on my work from previous years and contribute more deeply into this community. The best example of this has been my sporadic but enthusiastic participation with the middle school girls basketball team. For the last two Tuesdays I’ve joined practices, ran drills alongside the girls and enjoyed the opportunity to do a little informal coaching (although when I apologized to Coach Holly for being potentially too chatty and eager in this endeavor, she assured me that I was fine). This week, Bristol
hosted the noblest of the Busline League, the boys and girls teams of Nobleboro on Wednesday night. In preparation for this exciting battle, I summoned the EIRs of South Bristol and Nobleboro to join in the spectating of this clash of titans. Nobleboro took both wins handedly but I made a beautiful sign that said “Go Bristol!” in art class so my students were still happy.