name is Will Rosenbloom, a teenage boy with autism who was given the
opportunity to serve as an intern in a kindergarten classroom via my high
school’s Child Development class. I currently am a junior at
Dan Schneider High is a large school. Our high school is named after the TV producer Dan Schneider, a contemporary TV producer who has produced many successful TV shows that are popular among children today, such as iCarly, Zoey 101, and Drake and Josh. Our building and grounds encompass 80 acres, and the school justifies its large size based on the idea that we should make our school “campus-like” in order to help prepare our students for the typical size of a college campus. Schneider is large, as well—we have a student body population of four thousand—with approximately one thousand students in each graduating class.
Our high school also offers a Child Development program that consists of a sequence of 4 classes. Each class is numbered based on the sequence—Child Development 1, 2, 3, and 4. Students take the first Child Development class where they serve as assistants in a laboratory preschool located inside Dan Schneider high. Finally, after taking the second and third Child Development class, students in the fourth Child Development class are sent to neighboring elementary schools, where they serve as interns in classroom settings. I started the program as a second semester freshman and, after taking the first, second, and third classes, I enrolled into the fourth level at the beginning of my junior year.
Child development classes at Dan Schneider High are no joke. They exist based on the assumption that you are pursuing a career in the field of early childhood, as a teacher, daycare worker, or administrator, and the child development teachers, Mrs. Trainor and Miss Kress, stress the seriousness of this class, and that if you aren’t willing to take the class seriously, you should drop before it’s too late.
Mrs. Trainor is in charge of the internship program, and the interns are required, as part of their assignments, to keep a diary of everything that occurs, along with other related assignments to my work.
The following book is a publication of the diary that I kept during the first semester of my internship, as required by Mrs. Trainor. It also consists of the other required assignments that I produced during that first semester, as well as older materials I wrote for my previous child development classes. The diary covers my experiences as an intern in a kindergarten classroom at a local elementary school, as well as several writing assignments I was given that I had to complete while I served as an intern. I have decided to publish this upon my high school graduation hoping that my story can have any educational value regarding my triumph as a successful intern despite being on the autism spectrum, as well as the children’s lives that I touched as an intern.
I have split this publication into three parts: the diary covering the first quarter of the first semester, my writing assignments, and the diary covering the second quarter of the second semester. In the end, I attended a total of 23 days, starting on September 14, and ending on December 21, my attendance unfortunately shortened due to illness, and family issues—my grandmother suffered a stroke during my internship and I had to miss class periodically to visit my grandmother and help her get re-settled into her daily routine with my mother and sister.
The classroom I worked in was located at Shay Elementary School. It was a half-day kindergarten, taught by Mrs. Shapiro. Mrs. Shapiro is someone who has known me for a long time—she actually was my former kindergarten teacher, the teacher I had as a student when I was six, having been held back a year due to my August birthday. Mrs. Shapiro was happy to have one of her former students inside her classroom, and looked forward to working with me in her class.
The schedule of my internship reflects the scheduling system of Dan Schnieder High School. We follow a block scheduling system where students, rather than taking every class daily, take classes every other day. Days in our school are designated as “1” or “2” days, and we take classes in the form of 90-minute blocks. Blocks are lettered, with each block named after two letters. Therefore, each day consists of Block AB, Block BC, Block DEF, and Block GH. The third block of the day is split between a lunch period and a 90-minute block period, thus the block has six letters. Students either have lunch before their DEF class, after their DEF class, or in between, with a class split up into two 45 minute segments.
All students have a free period and study hall as well. Students attend their internship sites based on the time of their Child Development class, but may extend this into their free period if they wish. In my case, my Child Development class was scheduled during Block BC on “1” days, but since I had a Block DEF free period also on “1” days, I decided to extend my internship into Block DEF. Block BC is from 9:15 to 11:00, and Block DEF is from 11:10 to 1:30. I therefore created a schedule that fits with the schedule of Mrs. Shapiro’s kindergarten classroom. Mrs. Shapiro teaches a morning class and an afternoon class. The morning class runs from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m., and the afternoon class runs from 12:15 to 3:15 p.m. I therefore arranged to work every other school day in her classroom from 9:15 to 11:30, and then return to school. I worked Monday, Wednesday, and Friday every other week, and Tuesday and Thursday every other week, except when I was absent from school due to illness or other conflicts, and due to class days where the interns report inside the classroom to receive additional teaching from Mrs. Trainor.
As I did not enjoy sitting quietly in a study hall without much work to do at times, on “2” days during Block BC, I served as a teaching assistant in Dan Schneider’s laboratory preschool, taught by Mrs. Nelson. I had already spent time in Mrs. Nelson’s preschool class for the past two years in my Child Development classes, as the Child Development students all are required to spend time inside the preschool and gain experience working with the children in the preschool prior to joining this internship program. Ironically, as some of the students in the preschool class ended up joining Mrs. Shapiro’s class this year, I actually knew some of the students from my work in the preschool.
In addition, while I was a freshman and sophomore, I volunteered at a daycare sponsored by our local JCC. The daycare served kids of staff members who worked at the JCC, and members who came to use the facilities at JCC (such as the fitness center, coffee shop, or take a class offered there) and needed to drop their children off while doing so.
I hope you enjoy my story. As they say in Dragnet, “The story you are about to hear is true. All the names have been changed to protect the innocence and privacy of the persons involved.” Sit back, relax, and enjoy the diary.