Maymester 2008 Hailed as Community Success

Albion College's Science Atrium is completely filled during Maymester's Showcase Learning Fair.After the success of the first ever Boundary Crossing/Maymester experience in 2007, this year’s second annual Maymester proved worthy by doubling last year's "Showcase of Learning” audience. It is estimated that over 600 community members, parents, students and educators were in attendance. With a mathematical garden, worm farm, 5-foot Poem Tree" and representative food from different countries participating in the 2008 Olympics, the Showcase surpassed the expectations not only of the Albion community, but also of the Albion College students who planned the three-week intensive lesson plans. And these were just four of the 18 projects on display!

This year’s theme was “Our Environment and Civic Engagement” and helped Albion Public School elementary and secondary students become aware of their environment at home, at school, here in Albion, as well as across our nation and world.

Albion High School students' work on display.Albion High School students' work on display."The Maymester Showcase Learning Fair has been collaboration beyond my expectations,” said Fritz Shurmur Education Institute director Mae Ola Dunklin, a former principal at Albion's Harrington Elementary. “This has been a clinical educational practice that I know all prospective teachers will remember, especially as they begin their student teaching assignment. A lot of learning was accomplished. This collaboration has been a profitable and rewarding experience for the community of Albion as well as for Albion College education students. Working collaboratively has been a win-win opportunity for everyone. Together we make a difference in the education of all children.”

Though Maymester is a year-long program, the three-week segment that the Albion College students spend in the classrooms is the heart of the project. “I have had a great time, made real progress not only as a person but as a teacher!” said Adam Lancto, who will be student teaching in the fall of 2008. "I am very thankful to the Education department for putting me in a challenge instead of a comfortable situation. I think we have all learned much more being in challenging situations.”

The Fritz Shurmur Education Institute is the bridge between the Teacher Education Program at Albion College, and the Albion Public Schools. However, it is all parties involved that make Maymester possible. It is a positive program for all involved. Both communities are able to work together on one common goal: the betterment of the schooling environment.

Education student Lauren Willson (second from left) describes her students' math garden to fellow student Angel Ingram (right) and other Albion community members.Education student Lauren Willson (second from left) describes her students' math garden to fellow student Angel Ingram (right) and other Albion community members.Senior, A’Lana Bates participated in the planning workshop and also was a part of the First Boundary Crossings/Maymester course in spring 2007. She is currently conducting a FURSCA research project on the Maymester experience and plans to student teach in the fall of 2008. According to Bates, “The Maymester challenges Albion College education students to really think and experience teaching as an action and not just a theory in a book. It leads to more defined and more passionate perspectives on becoming an educator."

“Maymester has been one of the most rewarding and educational experiences I have had at Albion College,” said Ashley Larimer, who will be student teaching in the spring of 2009. “I love working with the students in Albion Public Schools. I am coming out of this program more prepared and more excited about teaching.”