Attend the Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking in Annandale, NY, and afterwards award-winning author Debra Moffit’s "Gaining Creative Self Confidence Writing" retreat in Lake Annency, France, to implement intentional strategies in reflection and storytelling with high school students in an underserved community.
Before my fellowship, my identified growth area is being able to provide creative opportunities to inspire kids, and have students both share and value their own stories. In meeting with educators all over the world, without them even knowing it, just listening to them speak about a topic from a different perspective was integral to my learning. I am now creating more opportunities for students to share their perspective, experience, and learn from each other.
I am a very stringent lesson planner, teaching to strict objectives, and making sure everything I do is in service to them. In this, what's lost, as students individualized experience. I now plan specifically for each student to insert themself , and their story directly into the lesson, to create a culture of sharing, and valuing story telling.
I made incredibly close connections to everyone along the way of my journey. I used to hate "small talk" but now value it/ am much more open to hearing the opinions, stories, and anything else with the people around me. This fellowship made me open up more to people, make new friends, and in general, become more social. As a proud introvert, I never saw this coming.
Students will value their individualized stories , and put value in truly getting to know each other. In the lesson, I will create room for opening mediation, free-write, and sharing creative stories, in top of the traditional academia. In doing this, classroom culture will evolve tremendously.
Students will engage in story exchanging with eachother. They will write 2 more college essays than they haven't before. They will engage in circles, and also projects in relation to their life and the people close to them.
I also am a teacher developer for Teach For America. I will give tools, and insight I learned for teachers to implement in their room. I also plan to have parents be directly involved in their child's learning in school.
On a Macro level, hearing from educators around the world made me realize how much Connecticut education, and also American in general, lives in a bubble. There are so many different learning styles, and this fellowship made me understand the limitless ways students, and teachers, can learn.
Teachers set the weather of their classroom, and are the role models, illuminating the way for their students. The more tools teachers have in their toolbox, and the broader their perspective, the more they can offer their students. Teachers often get tunnel visioned, and even seeing something slightly different leads to so much more rich learning.
Transformative. Again, I cannot believe the bubble I lived in, in regards to the possibilities of teaching and learning. I recommend this fellowship to all teachers. It changed my perspective in teaching, and life.