Before I began my internship at Walker, I outlined several learning goals I hoped to accomplish by the end of the summer. One of my learning goals is to integrate the Walker experience into my school work once I return to Brandeis. During the fall semester, I will be enrolled in courses called “Disorders of Childhood” and “Education and Social Policy.” During my time at Walker thus far, I have implemented developmentally appropriate social and recreational activities for children that have encouraged creativity and teamwork (if you’re interested, visit this link to participate in a training on how to therapeutically play with children). By implementing different types of activities, I have begun learning various techniques that can be applied in a school setting to encourage student learning and growth.
A second learning goal is for the Walker experience to help me develop some of the attributes of an excellent social worker – a position I aspire to. A very important part about being a social worker is maintaining the trust of those you work with and are trying to help. The children in my program typically do not live with their parents and thus do not get to experience many things that people take for granted, such as having someone read a bedtime story. There have been nights where I was the person who put a child to bed, and through interactions like these, the children have begun to trust me and open up to me, thus allowing me to truly begin to help them.
My third goal for this summer is to become more comfortable adapting to an unpredictable environment. Throughout my internship, I have worked with children toward the improvement of life-skills, ranging from how to wash their hands to how to make a grilled cheese. By working one-on-one with children who have different strengths and weaknesses, I have continuously altered my approach to properly teach these children various skills. This constant need to adjust to the varying circumstances has allowed me to begin to be more flexible with the changes in my own life.
Even though I have achieved a lot during my time at Walker, I am most proud of the fact that I have begun to develop relationships with the children in my program. It has taken a lot of time and hard work, especially because of the trauma many of these children have experienced, but they have finally begun to trust me, talk to me, and allow me to help them. I started working at Walker because I wanted to help children who had gone through extremely difficult times, and now that I have formed relationships with them, I can now begin to teach and help them to the best of my ability.
The skills I am developing at Walker will also help me in other aspects of my life, especially in a career setting. By going to work every week and interacting with the staff and children, I am learning teamwork, leadership, and the ability to provide a nurturing environment. These skills will help my future career plans because I want to be a social worker for children, and as such, I need to be able to work with my colleagues to provide a safe and therapeutic environment for the children in my care.
Even though I am only half way through my internship, I have already learned so much and am excited to continue learning as the summer progresses.
If you would like to learn more about The Walker School, visit this link to watch a video that talks about the different components of Walker. It is a special place.
– Avi Cohen ’15