Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekend Team 3!

Since my last post a great deal has happened here in lovely Washington, CT.  Friday was fairly jam packed with practice twice a day, advisor lunch, and mini classes.  After practice in the morning where I taught my six freshmen novices to erg I had a pretty crammed 45 minutes in which I showered, dressed nice for advisor lunch, fought with the Xerox machine, copied math bingo, and made it to the dining hall with about 30 seconds to spare.  Advisor lunch was interesting, my lunch table was my four advisees in addition to Ed Small the chair of the math department and his five advisees.  Unfortunately Ed was at a memorial service, so I was alone at the table with all of the advisees.  This was an interesting experience as Ed has four female and one male advisees, and I have four female advisees so the poor freshman boy was alone with all of the ladies at the table.  It went very well, a great deal of small talk but two of my advisees have now become the best of friends.  Which has been really great as one of the two's mother emailed me worried about her, which is only to expect as she a fourteen year old many hours from home, buts she has been absolutely fantastic as I told her mother, has joined the crew team, and was just tonight handing out neon clothes to the other girls for the dance.

Mini classes were an exciting adventure, from the 15 minutes that I had for each of them I can already tell that both of my algebra 2 classes are going to be great handfuls, a lot of big personalities who know each other very well.  In each of my four classes we played math bingo with a prize of starbursts.  The students in general seemed to enjoy this though I had not anticipated the cultural barrier, many of the international students that I had in class were unsure of how exactly to play bingo.  After a brief explanation things went pretty well and we made it through without a hitch in any of my four classes.  I am finishing getting ready for the start of real classes on Monday.

So this weekend my team is on duty which means that each of us has one or two jobs that we sign up for and I was assigned to evening rounds 1.  This was probably the most eventful/terrifying experience that I have had since I arrived here.  Terrifying because I was walking around in the dark alone unsure of what was around every corner.  On evening rounds you are basically supposed to go around the entire campus looking in the nooks and crannies for students in locations they should not be in or engaging in unsafe or unsavory activities.  In my travels I looked in dark gardens, empty classrooms, and even in the bushes, I found several pairs of students off for "evening strolls" holding hands, and "talking."  I did not find any students engaging in any unacceptable behaviors but I did make several couples of students feel quite uncomfortable by talking to them during their "alone time" together.  Though the highlight of the whole day other than my freshmen boys finally getting on the water and rowing was the events that unfolded in the student center.

Within the outer room of the student center I found a group of asian international students on the couches and chairs around the coffee table where they were arm wrestling.  After talking to them for a few minutes I found out that they were having an arm wrestling tournament.   I decided to take a stab at it before I left and challenged them to an arm wrestle.  One of the smaller boys said he was "scared to do it" so I had him sit down and take me on.  Needless to say I won to great whooping and yelling from the group of boys.  I left immediately following but I could still here them going at it a half hour later when I walked past again.  The only other interesting thing that I found in my travels was a freshman boy shining his desk lamp like a spotlight through the second story window at his friends on the lawn.

Well its now late and I am exhausted, one more morning practice of preseason tomorrow morning.  Girls just got 90$ worth of chinese delivered to the dorm so they will be up for a while.  Week one is done and I am still going strong, can't wait for classes to start and things to settle down into a rhythm.  Bring on Week two!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Long Day!

Today was the second move in day, but also the largest move in day.  Yesterday just the student leaders (prefects, RAs, head tour guides, orientation leaders) and the international students moved in, but today it was EVERYONE else!  The morning actually was fairly uneventful, I spent a great deal of time reminding myself that I am no longer Amy but now Miss Paulekas, which takes a lot of concentration to change your name after 22 years.  We have an exciting group of over 45 students in Bourne ranging from freshmen to juniors from all over the world and United States including, Spain, South Carolina, Japan, and Connecticut.

If there was one thing that I took away from my interview at Gunnery last April it was how friendly and welcoming this campus truly is.  That was exuded at its finest today as the RAs helped to carry clothes and such up and down the stairs in the rain, all the while with huge welcoming smiles on their faces.  The new students were surprisingly outgoing as I saw many introducing themselves to others, including one who was ready to say good bye to Mom way before Mom was ready to go.

After move in today we had orientation, which was held outside regardless of the fact that the ground was wet outside.  With stations and lots of enthusiastic orientation leaders and prefects, the orientation was a success and I am sure that several of the new students made some great friends this afternoon.

The long day just continued with athletic meetings where the boys crew team had 39 boys come interested in doing crew!  While this is exciting it is also a bit overwhelming as I am not sure we will have enough boats for all of them.  On the girls side they had a solid showing of 17 girls.  This year the Gunnery has more girls than ever before enrolled in the school, so there are a great deal of people interested to see how the athletics will level off as some of the teams will have to make cuts this fall.

The final event of the day was a dorm meeting, this was really just a general overview of how dorm life will go and introductions of the dorm parents and RAs.  I am really excited about this year and cannot wait to get to know each and every one of these girls.  I can already tell that there are some truly amazing students at this school and I am looking forward to teaching, coaching, advising, and living with everyone in this great Gunnery family.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Eve of the First Day of School

As I mentally prepare myself for the start of school tomorrow I cannot help but compare my jitters to my first summer at camp.  I have spent the last week and a half learning the ropes here at Gunnery from CPR training to department meetings to learning too many names to count, needless to say things have been crazy.  To add to it all, a tropical storm soaked us through on my fifth night here unveiling an awesome leak in my kitchen but it is adventures such as this that will shape my experiences here.  I have met a number of really great people here so far and cannot wait to spend the next year working with each and everyone of them.

My first summer of camp, I had just graduated from high school, and was the youngest member of the CEW staff, now in my first year of teaching, at the Gunnery, I have just graduated from college, and am again the youngest faculty member.  It is not this likeness to that first summer that has me reflecting but the feelings I had just after lunch on my first day of camp.  It was at this point in the day that I realized for the first time that things were going to change in a big way.  I had grown accustomed to life with just the camp staff, as I have here at the Gunnery, and in a way dreaded the arrival of the campers because I had no idea of what to expect.

Here I am, 5 years later, getting ready to welcome 46 teenage girls into my dorm, I have grown up a great deal in these 5 years, and now instead of facing tomorrow with dread, I am excited for the arrival of my students.  To say that I am not nervous would be a complete lie, there are still so many aspects of boarding school life that I am going to have to figure out, but I will face tomorrow with growing optimism ready to take that giant leap into my future.

For those of you reading this blog, I have decided to blog my first year of teaching, the highs, the lows, and everything in between.  For my camp co-workers (Amanda Civitello!) I will be blogging some photos of my teaching outfits to prove that I can dress like a "real" person.

I hope you all enjoy this adventure with me!