Getting Back to School

By: Alexis Wilkman

Now that the first break of education season is over, life is beginning to return to normal in Hawley. Despite the bitter cold and long hours of lesson planning ahead, I’m excited to be back in my forest home, and especially excited to see my students again at Northfield Elementary. All of the students at NES are beyond excited to have us in their classrooms—this year will mark the first time the SCA has worked with Northfield, and we have quite a legacy to live up to. The students, however, have no expectations, and know us only as the fun “Americorps science people.”

It’s impossible to not love the kids. In the first few weeks of teaching, my partner and I have received hand-made pictures, letters, countless hugs, and even requests to be big sisters or best friends. Aside from receiving personalized drawings, my favorite part of teaching is seeing my students really grasp an activity or concept. I was amazed to see one student explain the convection currents in the Earth’s core after a lesson on geology, and another tell their classmates about recycling after a lesson on Leave No Trace. On one occasion, I taught a magnetism lesson with a special kind of “north pole-south pole tag” in the school field. The activity was only supposed to take ten minutes, but the kids loved it so much, we played for almost forty minutes, and apparently the kids’ game lasted through their recess. When we arrived at our next class after a lunch break, all the students begged to do a lesson on magnets, because word had spread around the school that our activity was so fun! Their never-ending energy, curiosity, and love of learning is inspiring, and makes all the work of teaching worthwhile. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the education season will bring!