Bristol Consolidated School’s EIR: Rachel Z.
When I started the New Year at Bristol Consolidated School, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was first introduced to the BCS middle school community at the end of October when I took the middle school students on a hike in Camden Hills. We had a wonderful day chatting and getting to know each other as we made our way up the ocean-view peak and I felt I had made my first strong connections by the end of the day. Still, walking into BCS on January 2nd, I only knew a couple of names and faces out of the entire Pre-K through 8th grade community. Such a first day should have been daunting and slightly terrifying. However, the Bristol community welcomed me with open arms.
During that first month I spent a lot of time in the lunchroom and at recess trying to make connections with each grade level. I found that popping around and sitting with different groups of students allowed them to get to know me and my role in their community for the next ten weeks and I learned a bit about each of them. My primary responsibility that first month was to help facilitate Winter Kids Winter Games, a state-wide competition that works to get students outside, active, and healthy during the colder months of the year. I had the unique opportunity to take the 6th graders snowshoeing, the 8th graders on fat-tire bikes through the snow, and the younger grades outside to build snow people. Each grade had a wonderful time participating in WKWG and many students have continued the activities and games we played during the competition into February!
As Winter Kids Winter Games came to a close, I found myself with more free time and a million fun and exciting ways to spend it! This month, I have helped out in Ms. Kinney’s social studies classes where her 6th graders just finished a unit on Central and South America, participated in the 4th grade reading group and motor breaks where I’ve had the opportunity to facilitate some TLS style activities, worked one-on-one with a couple of students who need a little bit of extra help, and created lunch groups that meet weekly for the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday respectively. These lunch groups have definitely been a highlight of my time at BCS as they allow me to sit with smaller groups of students and check in, learn about their interests and dreams, and give them some time outside of the hectic and loud lunchroom.
As we enter the final weeks of EIR, I hope to spend more time with each grade talking about Social Emotional Learning and playing fun games. I’m so thankful for the close-knit and open minded community that I have been welcomed into and am excited to continue my relationship with Bristol Consolidated School!
Lincoln Academy’s Educators in Residence: Aubrie and Sam M.
We are like chameleons at Lincoln Academy (LA). Students look at us and see young 20-somethings, who are far enough in age to be respected, but close enough in age to be considered “chill.” Teachers may take a second glance at us as we walk in the halls during class time, uncertain if we should be in Biology class, or if we are the Educators in Residence heading to our next destination. These different shades that we wear outwardly allow us to connect with a wide-range of students on a more personal level providing a space for guidance and support alongside laughter and goofiness. This combination creates a level of trust that allows students to be vulnerable and allows us to help and push them to grow.
We work in different areas at LA reaching a large, diverse audience molding our time to meet the present needs of the group or individual. It might consist of working down in Teague, the alternative education program at LA, making fruit into spaghetti, running a Biology class that takes TLS curriculum and transforms it into an experiential study guide for students, having meaningful conversations with students in a creative space making pottery together, teaching students leaders in the school a social-emotional curriculum to implement in freshmen advisory, or eating dinner on Wednesday’s with the residential students learning more about their cultures and deciding which Disney movie was their favorite growing up. Independently and together we wiggle our way into even more areas including; three different Special Education classes, coaching indoor track and field, collaborating with student council, leading ski trips with the outing club, facilitating a 9-day winter vacation trip at Wavus, weekly after school activities with the residential students, creating a social-emotional safe space in the library during study hall hours and more.
We adapt to the environment we are in and students trust that we are there because we care. Because we are authentic in our mannerisms, the community looks to us not only as chill individuals, but as individuals who should be taking up space in their school. You don’t always get the level of excitement from high school students as you do in the younger years, but a simple hello and wave in the hallway lets us know that they are glad we are here.