27 educators, a week in the beautiful mountain town of Cullowhee, and PD sessions packed with cutting edge ed topics – how could I not walk away from the summer institute feeling like my life has changed for the better?
In my opinion, the most powerful factor that sets this apart from other PD opportunities is the residential aspect. I knew that I would be learning a whole lot during the day, but what surprised me was the networking and sharing of ideas that happened at dinner, on the patio, and in the lounges. This was made possible by the simple fact that we were staying together for the week. Obviously we didn’t always have our teacher hats on (things got really intense during those card games!), but there were countless conversations that helped me grow as an educator in this unconventional setting. I teach 4th grade, and informal conversations with middle and high school teachers gave me a fascinating glance at the “bigger picture” of what I do in the classroom. Resources were shared, business cards were exchanged, and partnerships were formed. I now have a network of outstanding teachers who can strengthen me with advice and perspective.
The daily sessions guided by the amazing folks of the steering committee were top notch as well. I am invigorated by what I learned about PBL. I am already writing projects for the units I will implement later. PBL veteran Carrie Horton facilitated two sessions I attended on the topic, and I also attended the edcamp session around this teaching method. To put it into 3 simple words: I feel prepared.
My mind is absolutely reeling from the massive upload of information I received this week, and it’s hard to imagine my time as a Kenan fellow has just begun. Keep checking in with me to find out how my work is progressing. Thanks for reading!