Experiencing AB Combs Elementary School: Lessons Learned from My Internship

By Ting Guo

I have been grateful to have a short-term internship experience at AB Combs Elementary, one of the best magnet schools in America. Harmonious campus atmosphere and professional teachers have given me a deep impression!

Stephen Covey’s 7 habits

Stephen Covey’s 7 habits

On the first day of my internship, I was lucky to meet Principal Ms. Summers, who received “best principal of the year” award. This amazing woman surprised everyone by transforming a once struggling school into the No. 1 Magnet School in the U.S.A in ten years with guidance of Dr. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. At A.B. Combs, the seven habits were addressed within and across subject matters. For instance, a science teacher promoted collaborative learning by telling the class that a team’s solution was better than that was proposed by any individual. Great success will be achieved only if each team member is proactive and engaging in the task they are focusing on. Meanwhile, a man of vision is the one who begins with the end in mind. Prioritizing tasks at hand is also essential in the face of a rapidly changing world. Gradually, these principles became important part of school culture. Every student has grown into a leader to the point that they self-actualize and live up to their potentials!

G1 kids in Ms.Tiffiny’s class

G1 kids in Ms.Tiffiny’s class

G1 classroom with designed theme

G1 classroom with designed theme

The idea of The Seven Habits manifests itself in each classroom at AB Combs.
All the teachers in AB combs are highly educated and they take efforts to focus on students’ social skills and characters as well as academic rigor. They are very professional in inspiring the greatness of each student. I was blessed to be able to work with Ms.Tiffiny who had been working with young children for many years. She was able to move her eyes quickly around the room and know in a glance what each child was doing. As was the case with the young newbie in the classroom, she knew the little girl was sitting with her work. I’m sure she caught on to the fact that she was not completing it, but she had the great sense to not call out from even 5 or 6 feet away to tell her to finish. When she saw that her attention was no longer on her works, she came over and encouraged her to finish up. I also saw she patiently encouraged one little boy to focus on his work while he was highly distracted,

G5 student leaders

G5 student leaders

and gently but firmly reminded two little girls that the work they chose really didn’t need two people’s efforts. Through observation of her class for a couple of weeks, I have learned that it’s okay to let kids slow down in their learning; It’s okay if the younger ones don’t complete an assignment quickly; it’s even okay if someone can’t make it through! Just encourage them to do what they can to become creative problem solvers, compassionate leaders, and change makers!

It has been a big blessing for me to work with these excellent teachers and principals in the past few weeks. We build our connections by emailing each other when we are free, and share our work experiences to draw new inspirations! AB Combs is truly an amazing place for both teachers and students where cooperative relationships, responsibility, kindness, and good judgment were built to cultivate leaders in society in the coming future.

My first day in AB Combs Elementary

My first day in AB Combs Elementary