91% of Breakthrough students are students of color.
Name: Meaghan Hurr
Program: Summerbridge Hong Kong
Subject Teaching: Creative Writing
School Attending/Year: St. Margaret's Episcopal School
As the taxi rolled up to the school in Mong Kok, I pressed my nose to the glass and fogged it up. Through this cloudiness, I marveled wide eyed at the tunnel that was gazing expectantly at me as they gleefully clapped their hands and sang S-S-S-U-M-M-M-E-R-B-R-I-D-G-E SUMMERBRIDGE! I grinned as I made my way through the tunnel. I remembered how last summer, everyone would be exhausted until we were amped up by the spirit that all of the Summerbridge cheers brought. I immediately felt so enthused that I attempted to join in the last few rounds of cheering before the tunnel would die.
These past three days, it's been all about Admin Training. As a department head for the Language Arts department, I got the opportunity to experience the Summerbridge spirit a bit earlier and I got the wonderful task to help bring on the spirit when the teachers came. We spent hours dancing around shouting about peeling bananas and a bird named agaflagafleegaflooga. But beyond that, what admin training was all about was prepping our "O" week for when the rest of the teachers arrived. We spent time planning our very first ASM, involving a Who Wants to Be a Summerbridge Teacher game show theme. But more importantly, we spent time learning about our leadership roles.
When I first learned that I was a department head, I was extremely excited but a bit nervous. I had received a document that listed out the priorities and for moments, I doubted whether I could take on this role: the role of mentoring teachers who had never taught before. I didn't feel confident about reading lesson plans and giving constructive criticism. I certainly had areas to improve on in my teaching.
What assuaged my fears later on was what Drew Starling, the dean of faculty, told all of the department heads: each of us were chosen for a reason. Think about that again: each of us were chosen for a reason. By the end of that meeting, after spelling out the roles, expectations, many assurances that being department heads was not supposed to be daunting, I felt confident, confident that I knew how to teach these new teachers on how to best construct a class that involved interesting knowledge and even cooler activities.
To put it in short, I'm proud and super excited to bring on the spirit at Summerbridge Hong Kong! Everyone will benefit from this experience and really get the chance, in a foreign city no less, to whiz through the most meaningful eight weeks of their lives.