Having summers off may be a perk many teachers enjoy, but for Brittney Russo, the Shelter Island High School science teacher admits she’s “actually looking forward to the routine” of getting back into the classroom.
In fact, she has been coming to the school over the past couple of weeks to prepare for the upcoming year and said she can’t wait to reconnect with some of the students she’s had in the past and get to know her new students.
Ms. Russo’s time in the school building has been putting up materials on bulletin boards and copying information to hand to the students. But that’s just the physical work.
She has also been reviewing books she intends to use in class and thinking a lot about what has worked well in previous years and what she would like to change.
What’s been special about Shelter Island, she said, is mentoring she’s received from science teachers Dan Williams and Sharon Gibbs. Because they’ve had experiences with some students she hasn’t previously taught, she’ll pick their brains for information on learning techniques that work best with her new charges.
While college prepares teachers to enter the classroom ready on day one, Ms. Russo said much of what she learned was helpful, but experience showed some learning techniques just didn’t work well.
During the summer months, she participated in a four-day “Advanced Placement Summer Institute Program” in Rockville Centre designed to familiarize her with techniques other environmental science teachers are using.
Returning to school means resuming an hour-long commute from her home in the Moriches, but that isn’t a concern, Ms. Russo said.
“I love teaching on Shelter Island and I would not change it for the entire world,” she said. She’s happy classes are small and she can get to know the youngsters as people and not just students.
Oh, what did she do on her summer vacation?
There was some time off for a family trip to Disney World and she participated in other typical East End summer activities.
Now, most of her focus is on readapting to her home away from home, in the halls of Shelter Island School.