Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What I Learn at Summer Camp

For the last 5 years I've taught at a craft class at a theater camp for kids.
The director always tells me how much the kids like me and how much they learn from me but every year I'm like "I learn so much from them."

Here's some important things I learned from my campers.

1. I am not made to be a full time teacher- Before I started teaching camp I was toying with the idea of going back to school to be a teacher. After my first summer, ok after my first week, I realized that while I love teaching kids to decorate hats, fans and scarves I'm not cut out to teach math, science, reading and social studies every day.

2. Patience- OK I'm pretty patient. If you work retail you totally want me in your check out line cause I'm never in a hurry. But I've learned to be patient with people who don't listen or who don't do what I explain or who don't listen (yeah, I said that twice).

3. Be encouraging and involve everyone- Everyone can be creative even the kid who seems like he's at camp because his parents don't want to pay for a babysitter but they really don't want him to burn down the house either.

4. Go with the flow- I have a plan but each class is different and some kids take the whole time to finish their craft and still want more time to work on it and others take no time at all. If I have time I answer questions they have about the theater or costumes. Mostly they want to tell me about all the shows they've seen or that they were in their school's production of High School Musical.

5. Use My Voice- Not the writing kind of voice but the voice that gets people's attention. The first day I taught camp I was nervous. When kids get bored they don't hide it very well. What if the kids didn't like me? What if the craft didn't work? By the end of the summer I was definitely more confident.

I know that what I've learned from my campers will be super valuable for things like school visits when I have a book published someday.


NiaRaie said...

I don't think I'm patient enough, of all listed, to be a teacher. But I do work retail and I'd LOVE customers like you!

Meredith said...

I love working with kids. I write with kids at the hospital every week, and it's amazing to see what incredible imaginations they all have. I really do cherish that.

Stratoz said...

great knowledge here. one of the best things about teaching is learning. Hope you can keep teaching camp.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Yes, I started teaching part time three years back and the first rule I learned was to 'look 'em in the eye and show no fear':)

Lydia K said...

Those would be useful in a lot more than just teaching and camp!