First Days of School Debrief

First Days of School Debrief

This debrief occurs immediately prior to the start of their senior year at SPU’s School of Education.

It all started with a grant request and the desire to provide students with a week to debrief after completing their required two weeks of classroom placement.   This debrief occurs immediately prior to the start of their senior year at SPU’s School of Education. It’s also an opportunity to receive “guided reflection” on their classroom experience. The goal:  To move from the classroom experience to their vocation by helping the teacher candidates understand and experience the value of strong networks and social bonds within the teaching community, and to place the students in a retreat environment so that they can explore how Christian vocational development shapes these networks and bonds.

This September the “” will be led for the second year in a row by Julie Antilla, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Chair of Undergraduate Teacher Education. Why Camp Casey? Julie feels the location provides the opportunity for the students to focus on building relationships with each other during this week. “These relationships are essential for the interns support network throughout the year – student teaching can be hard and stressful, and having a support network is vital for self-care.” Also, what better location for an outdoor science practicum?

This year’s camp group of 25 will have interns representing general elementary education, various subjects in high school education, K-12 special education, and K-12 music education. Imagine receiving support and instruction on everything involved in setting up a classroom and establishing the classroom climate during the first days of school.  Students will work with Julie for general pedagogy (the study and practice of how best to teach), and develop lesson and classroom management plans to use when they return to their K-12 school sites in October. Other instructors will provide outdoor science education projects, using theater techniques in the classroom and working with special needs in the general education classroom.

Students will be staying in the open barracks with one afternoon to explore the island in small groups. Julie always recommends two of her favorite shops for lavender and toys and encourages shopping the quaint waterfront of Coupeville. Evening hours at Camp Casey for most groups always includes time around the campfire and this group of young teachers is not the exception. Julie says to expect fun, fellowship, and testimonies.