Summer typically means schools out—trips to the pool, the lake, and the beach, but for teachers and professors in the Oxford community, that is not always the case. Whether they like being there or not? That’s another story.
Julia Welch, Adjunct Professor in Management at Ole Miss, would rather be traveling out of the heat to Montana or Maine, or even to Europe, but she does enjoy getting to know the students in the summer because they have a more relaxed attitude.
“There’s’ definitely a different mindset in the summer, I know [students] would much rather be laying out by the pool all day. This semester is the first time I’ve had an 8 a.m. class, and it seems to be a struggle for a lot of [the students] as they seem to be over sleeping,” said Welch.
This summer, Welch is teaching business communications, which she also taught in June. She has been teaching for three years, prior to that she worked for Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporation in Memphis for nearly 15 years.
“It’s like a puzzle when you’re putting together a syllabus, so you’ve got to reconstruct [the syllabus] for a summer class,” Welch said.
After Welch finishes teaching her July class, she will be visiting the California wine country in August before the fall semester starts.
Not all professors would rather be on vacation though, David Gligor, Marketing Professor at Ole Miss enjoys being in the classroom during the summers.
“I know it’s difficult for [students] to take summer classes because they need a break. That’s why I want to teach summer classes because I know it’s difficult for them and I want to give them the best experience possible.”
In June, Gligor taught Introduction to Supply and Chain. In July, he is teaching Global Marketing. In the process of reformatting his syllabus to fit the short month of class, he aims to reduce the studying material from the textbook instead of eliminating any other material.
“There are less tests, more case studies, but the content remains the same.”
Gligor ultimately enjoys teaching in the summer because of the level of comfort the students find when interacting with him.
“I emphasize making sure they are comfortable and enjoy being here.”
Gligor has been teaching for eight years and prefers teaching in the summer because he develops closer relationships with students, which he finds the most rewarding part of teaching.
Beth Parker, Oxford Elementary 1st and 2nd-grade teacher, keeps her Horizons Enrichment program students motivated and engaged while they otherwise would want to spend their summer playing sports playing, at the park, or at the pool.
“I come up with creative ways to keep their attention, that differ from the traditional structure of the normal school year,” said Parker.
Parker emphasizes that if a teacher has a passion for teaching, they will find a way to make it special in the summer so that the students will want to be there as bad as they do.
“We do project based learning enrichment activities they may not see in the classroom field trip in the arts campus amenities offer support to students that have a deficit in reading.”
Parker’s passion for teaching continues in the summer as she reconnects or becomes closer with some of her former Oxford Elementary students.
“A lot of personality comes out with these students because [Horizons] is a more relaxed environment that offers more activities with a different structure than the regular school year, which is specific schedules and tests. [In the summer] teachers are allowed to have their own creativity.”
Parker began teaching over nine years ago and has never had a free summer since starting her career as a teacher.
“Since I’ve started teaching, I’ve never gotten to what I wanted, but I would spend it at the beach if I could.”
Madeline Weinstein is a student at the Meek School of Journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgHERE!