Revisiting the Benefits of Summer School.

Sun, 26 Jul 2015 Source: Eyiah, Joseph Kingsley

By Joe Kingsley Eyiah, OCT, Brookview Middle School, Toronto

June every year is graduation month for most students at the Elementary and High School levels. The following month often sees some students including elementary and high school graduates going back to school with other students. Such school is called SUMMER SCHOOL.

Before I come back to the topic of summer school, let me use this opportunity to congratulate all students, especially Ghanaian Canadian students who made us proud by successfully graduating from elementary, high schools, colleges and universities this year.

Summer school normally begins in early July for elementary students in Ontario Province of Canada. It begins for college and university students in the province during May/June. Every year summer school is organized for students. Is it necessary for some students to go to school during the time that the school year has ended and schools are officially on holidays? What benefits does summer school offer students and parents? Is summer school the best option for students instead of holidays? I will try to address the above questions in this brief discourse on summer school.

Let me say what summer school isn't to begin with. Summer school is not the place or time to "baby-sit" students. It is not fun time for students and teachers who participate in it. Neither is it "meet-me-there" opportunity for buddies!

What is Summer School?

Summer school for elementary and secondary school students is organized each year as a remedial program. Many of the students who attend this program are recommended to it by their teachers with the support of their parents.

Summer School at College/University Level: However, summer school courses for college and university students are designed as credit program to assist students to acquire credits to either shorten the length of their academic programs or catch up with some credits they need before the next academic year. Unfortunately, not all courses are available on the summer school programs. Students need to check with their faculties for the available courses.

Some Ghanaian Churches and Summer School in Toronto:

It is gratifying to note that some Ghanaian Churches in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) such as the All Nations Full Gospel Church, the Living Word Assembly of God Church and the Toronto & Heritage Ghanaian SDA Churches, to the best of my knowledge, have taken upon themselves to run summer school for Ghanaian children living in the GTA from July to August.

These churches do not want our children watching TV or playing video games 24/7 or roaming the Malls during the summer. They are therefore providing great learning cum fun opportunities for our children to get the needed head start towards their next school grades at a reasonable price!

The Truth about Summer School:

Whatever level you look at the academic summer school program, one fact stands tall. It is very intensive. The workload is heavy and it requires the student's prompt attention to completing and submitting all assignments on time. Teachers at summer school have very short time within which to teach the prescribed curriculum, assess students' performance and report on students' achievement.

Summer school therefore places a heavy responsibility on students to work hard in the short time frame to achieve goals set for the program. There is the need for students and teachers involved with the program to take summer school serious.

Students should be focused on the program. They should therefore seek out those who are helpful not distractive. Watch their behavior and attitude towards learning! Respect their teachers and other students. Be prepared to lend a helping hand to other students who need help. It will be better to stay away from summer jobs during the time that one is enrolled in summer school.

To our summer school teachers, teaching is still teaching! Remember, teaching is not just about impacting knowledge. It is also about changing lives. So endeavor to make a difference in the lives of students you teach this summer.

Teachers engaged in summer school must allow students and parents as well 'to teach' them during this brief period of facilitating the learning and teaching process.

Parents must be the parents they have always been to their children even if they are at summer school. Take summer school as serious as regular school and help your students to achieve success.

Parents, always remember that, "You are the stabilizing factor in the lives of your children so continue to parent them as usual, setting the boundaries and making sure they use their time profitably for a successful summer school this year and always."

There are great benefits for students who are in summer school such as:-head start for their next school grade; keeping them away from the 'summer youth troubles' as well as engaging their minds and hands meaningfully.

Happy summer school to all!

Columnist: Eyiah, Joseph Kingsley