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Summer Institute

June 20, 2011

Summer has never been my favorite time of the year. I’m much more of a cool weather person in general, and when it gets too hot, I get a little cranky. However, summer does come with its perks.

One of them is my job. I work at a community college, which means my summer schedule is much more relaxed than the rest of the year. In the English lab, this means there’s time to go around to classes and advertise our tutoring services and to get other things done that need doing while waiting for students to come in. Summer also means that it’s time for the EOPS Summer Institute.

EOPS, or Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, is a program that provides support to students who come into college with educational and/or socioeconomic disadvantages. During the summer, EOPS at DVC has a program called the Summer Institute, which is designed to help high school seniors and recent graduates transition to college. Summer Institute students become part of a learning community, studying together in the same set of classes to strengthen their math and English skills and prepare them for college life.

My role in all this is as a Supplemental Instruction Leader for the English side of the program. I’m kind of a glorified teacher’s aide/tutor, helping the students develop skills and strategies for writing as they work on drafting, revising, and polishing personal narratives of events that have shaped their lives. This is my second summer being a part of this program, and I love every minute of it.

The students who come into this program are universally interesting people with compelling personal stories. Many of them come from difficult backgrounds, having experienced things like poverty, crime, violence, discrimination, and other challenges. Many of them have never had an opportunity to tell their stories or to get their thoughts and ideas out into the open. All of them have something worth saying and worth hearing, and I feel privileged to be one of the people who gets to hear what they have to say first hand.

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