Internship Lessons

In one of my previous posts, Following The Signs, I talk about how anxious I was starting my new internship which involves early childhood education. Now that this experience is coming to an end, I would like to share just how much I’ve grown and what I’ve learned about myself.

1. I am way less awkward around kids.
I never really knew how to communicate with children until now. I noticed this change this past weekend when I went out to eat with one of my friends. There was a baby girl at the next table who kept watching us and smiling. Eventually, I made eye contact, smiled wide, and waved at her. My friend was very shocked; “Did you just wave at a baby?!” That was way out of my character. In the past, I would have never voluntarily engaged with a child.

2. I know how to lead.
I never really knew how to get children to quiet down and listen. This always worried me, especially since I want to have a child of my own eventually. But I have learned a few things… “If you can hear my voice clap one time” and my fave, counting down starting at 5. I heard one of the camp counselors do the countdown and realized how well it worked, so I put it to the test. It was crazy to see everyone’s eyes get wide as they ran to their seats and became silent. Not only did I learn these tricks, but I also learned how to keep them engaged by asking simple questions.

3. I like one on one interaction.
I mean, I already knew that, but this internship was confirmation. I was much more comfortable giving the children direction in smaller groups. For example, if there were two full tables I would walk each table through the steps individually. Then I found I was even more comfortable when working with one child at a time.

4. I love educating (in the most general sense) and forming new relationships.
It was so exciting to me when kids would come up to me at the end of the day and tell me all that they learned just that morning! They are truly amazing. Just last week I was walking through the museum and saw one of my kids from a previous camp. He waved enthusiastically with the biggest smile on his face. He remembered me and proceeded to tell me everything that had happened since I last saw him. It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt.

I am so glad that I got the opportunity to teach summer camp. I am also glad that I did not turn down this opportunity simply because it isn’t exactly what I want to pursue as a career. Now that I’ve had this experience, I can say that I can think on my toes, be resourceful, and lead a group of students. My resume is looking pretty good.

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