What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting


Fueled by my interest in international education, sustainability, and human rights, I decided to apply for the Center for Global Studies internship. I knew that I had a strong background in international studies, with my two study-abroad trips (first to Perth, Australia and second to Dublin, Ireland) and my roles as a Peer Advisor, a Conversation Partner, and the Vice President of the Penn State Global Ambassadors. I knew that this internship would be beneficial for both experience and networking.

Coming into the internship, I must admit that I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I had read on the website about some of the possible activities that interns do, but I personally did not have specific expectations. I only knew that I wanted to gain knowledge that could help me on my path to going global with my studies.

Thus, the internship commenced. I was given a role as a club teacher at the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania K-8 charter school. I have to admit, I was really excited about this role. I plan to go abroad to teach English in a school in France after graduation, so I knew this would be a good experience. After some configuration, I was given three clubs to run: Book Club, Arts and Crafts, and Games and Coloring.

Initially, I hadn’t planned on running a club like any of the ones above. But, I found a way to incorporate my original ideas (Mythology and Folklore and French) into the new clubs. When I first arrived at the school, I had my days all planned out—what we would read, what activities we would do, and even how responsive I thought the children would be.

Boy, I was in for a surprise.

I don’t have much experience working with children. In fact, I tend to lean towards adults when I have to work with any specific age group. I’ve babysat a few times for my mom’s friends, but for the most part I was going into this cold turkey. I probably should’ve done some reading-up on how to interact with children ages “just-learning-to-write-and-read” to “just-because-I-can-do-this-craft-doesn’t-mean-I’m-going-to”, and everything in between.

Week one has officially passed for these clubs, so I now know what I need to do to modify my plans and make these clubs more interesting for all parties involved. I must say, I’ve gained much more respect for elementary school teachers. It’s not that I didn’t have respect previously; simply, I didn’t think that children could require so much enthusiasm and patience. I’m not talking 95% enthusiasm and patience for 97% of the time, I mean 110% for 100% of the time. I know that I’ll have to work on these traits, but I’m up for the challenge!

Leave a Reply