Final Post: An Experience That I Will Never Forget

What’s The Story VT, an experience that I will never forget. Though some might be able to create a sentence that captivates the audience and makes them have the desire to keep reading and reading I can brutally say that my first sentence isn’t anything great, but guess what? I’m still learning. I have learned throughout this whole experience that it is okay to still not completely understand something that you have been working on for a whole year. Before I get into my final blog post, I would like to thank Bill Rich for first of all introducing me to this amazing program at the beginning of the year and consistently reaching out to me throughout the year to see how I was doing. I also would like to thank Tim O’Leary for helping me out when ever I had technical issues and always keeping everything in a stress free environment, the type of environment that most everyone can learn the best in. Bill and Tim, Thank you so much for your constant support throughout my experience in this incredible 1 year course that you both run beautifully together, I really appreciate it.

Throughout my year in this course I have gained many skills and though I might have not had the success I may have wanted to have in some of the proficiency’s, I think that there is still value in looking back at the successes and challenges I have had throughout this experience.

Self-Direction: Though some of my peers might be able to have answered this proficiency with a check mark so to say, I feel like Self-Direction was something that I lacked throughout the year. At points of the year, I felt a lack of motivation to complete the work that was needed to be done and I think that all in all I could have done a better job with this proficiency if I had worked harder to achieve it.

Responsible and Involved Citizenship: Since I struggled with Self Direction, I think that it is somewhat obvious that this I would struggle with this proficiency as well. I think that I was responsible at some points and less responsible at other points of the year. There was little things that I could have done in order to have excelled in the involved citizenship proficiency. I should have talked more during our google hangouts and add in more of my ideas when having discussions about our topic and what we could add to both the website and the documentary.

Informed & Integrative Thinker: I think that I was informed on my topic because whenever I had a moment I tried to read articles and watch videos about ELL and New American Education as a whole, so that I could gain perspective on what this looks like outside of Vermont and all over the world. When I first came to my group, I was hoping to do more work with intercultural communication, the topic that I had chosen at the beginning of the year, but I understand that it probably wouldn’t have fit in with the topic of ELL and New American Education in Vermont.

Clear and Effective Communication: As for this proficiency, I think that I again could have done better at had I worked harder at it. Communication throughout this project was specifically challenging for me because I struggle with criticism even if it is constructive. I felt at times throughout the year that my thoughts and opinions didn’t matter at all, because I couldn’t communicate well with my group if something they said particularly hurt me. In the future, I think I need to work on the skill of dealing with criticism and not taking everything anyone says about my work so personally.

Unexpected Learning: In a lot of ways throughout the year, I have had experiences of unexpected learning. I learned that ELL teachers have to go to from classroom to classroom or sometimes even different schools to meet with students that are at various skill levels in the ELL program. They are given small classrooms to teach in, sometimes even closets because there is so few of the students in rural Vermont schools that the school doesn’t even dedicate a room to it. On the other side, when visiting Winooski, I saw an ELL program that was thriving with amazing students. I think that personally, even though I have had my ups and downs throughout this course, seeing and interviewing ELL students is an experience that I will never, ever forget.

Erin Fishell

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