Summer school begins today. Six years ago I went to Susan Tough with the idea of creating something a little different in the summer. Training mixed with appreciation. Thank you mixed with learning. Direct care staff work so hard and often feel unappreciated by the very agencies that rely on them. Direct care staff also often feel that they need more training, more information to do a good job. Out of those concerns, expressed directly to me in my role as consultant to agencies. I proposed something radically different.
Two four day classes. One"Behaviour Self" on understanding and dealing with problem behaviour. One "Sex, Sexuality and Sex Education" on, well, sex, sexuality and sex education. The classes would be comprised of 4 days and run Thursday/Friday Thursday/Friday. We start the class at 9:30, take an hour lunch, end at 2:30. It's a shorter day, but it's summer school. That's school that happens in summer. It's supposed to be a little more relaxed. I don't shave for summer school. It's supposed to be SUMMER.
When I first proposed the idea to York Simcoe Behaviour Management Services, I wasn't sure if there would be an audience for the idea of training for information with hours that leave room for summer fun. Well, six years later, we're still here and still doing it. It may seem that this means easier classes for me too - well the hours are good - but every time I sit down to teach I need to have pared the workshop down to what's really important. Not a bad thing to do.
Over these summers I've met some amazing people. What I didn't realize was the effect of the classes on me. Normally I'm into a place, do a lecture, then on to the next place. I get no real sense of the people in the seats. At summer school there are always connections made, between my self and students and, of course, between the students as well. It's a tremendous experience. Because I'm always reminded about the strength, abilities and compassion of those who work here in the various systems.
I need to be reminded that there are whole whacks of people who quietly come to work every day - unsung heros of the community living movement.
So, I'm up getting ready, going through my notes. And finding a song beginning to play in my head.