Friday, February 22, 2008

A new Frontier

First of all, I’m sorry that I haven’t written in so long!  It was brought to my attention this week that it has been over two months since my last post.  Time has flown by since then, what with exams, Christmas break, interim, and now the start of a new semester.  I’m even more immersed in the speech pathology and audiology program this semester.  Four of my five classes are specifically speech pathology or audiology classes, and my fifth class, linguistics, is an English class that I have to take for my major (although I probably would have taken it no matter what my major was because I’m pretty into linguistics).  So I am eating, sleeping, and breathing speech pathology and audiology this semester, but I have never been so excited about all my classes.  The problem that I am finding is not that I don’t want to study or can’t find excitement but that I might very well want to go on to graduate school studies in every area I am currently studying: child language development; linguistics; neurogenic disorders; anatomy and physiology for speech, language, and hearing; and evaluative procedures in audiology.  As much as I love my classes, though, I can’t justify spending ALL my time on classwork.  So I’ve taken on a three-times a week project that I think will be most enjoyable.

Starting this morning, and every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for the rest of the semester I will be spending approximately 45 minutes in a kindergarten classroom.  The kids are from the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum, and therefore haven’t had some of the language development stimulation that more privileged kids receive.  As such, their language skills are below average, so my job is to aid the teacher in working with smaller groups of the kids on language skills.  We might read books, play language-based games, or practice general word skills together.  After meeting the kids this morning, I am so enthused about this project.  The kids are darling and I can’t wait to get to know them better.  An added benefit is that the teacher (interestingly enough, her name is Mrs. McCloud - pronounced just like my last name even if it is spelled more phonetically for English speakers) will have any activities all prepared for me in advance, so I don’t even have to find things to do with the kids.  All I have to do is show up and interact.  I am definitely ok with that.  I even get a partner - Gina Meekhof, one of my suitemates from the dorms last year.  She’s in my anatomy class from 9-10 MWF, and then we head over to the elementary school together until 11. 
I found tutoring/mentoring to be such a joy last semester (and it still is this semester) that I am very excited about getting involved in the community and kids’ lives in yet another way this semester.  I heard of both opportunities through my advisor here at Calvin (who also set me up to be a nanny six hours a week for two adorable little girls).  My Calvin connections are taking me places in the greater Grand Rapids community, which is exactly what I had hoped for in coming here.

Posted by Emily MacLeod on 02/22 at 01:51 PM
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