Is summer school harder than regular school?
I remember thinking, when summer school at the institute was going badly, I’d think “The problem is that this is just summer school, and the kids know that. When I get my own classes in the fall, things will be different.” And I was right. They were much, much worse.
Summer school is easier for a lot of reasons. Fewer students makes a huge difference. If you’ve got a class with less than twenty students, it’s a completely different dynamic than if you have a standard class of 34.
The main reason, though that summer school is much easier is that for the first two weeks, you’re in the ‘honeymoon period,’ where the students are giving the teacher a chance. And then, as soon as the honeymoon period ends, you start into the ‘second honeymoon’ which is the last two weeks of the term where the kids are ‘winding down’ and feeling good about the end being in sight. So you don’t have to deal with what you have in the ‘regular’ school year, which is 32 weeks of the tough time between the two honeymoons.
If you’re struggling this summer with management, you need to do some serious reflecting and fix things before you start in the fall. Don’t try to convince yourself that your problems are because of the artificial nature of summer school.
Then again, if you have a good summer school experience, don’t get a false sense of confidence that you are ready. I, personally, had a great summer school experience so I wasn’t very concerned about classroom management when I got my own classes in the fall.
It might be better to have problems teaching at the institute than to have a good experience. At least you’ll know what you need to improve on.