I hope everyone had a great summer! Teacher vacations are always so relaxing. I did have some great beach days and was able to read a bit. My favorite part of the summer is getting together with friends and family. I do still try to find rich experiences to keep myself relevant and find new and innovative educational practices. I usually sign up for an art related course or activity, but this year I thought I'd take myself out of my comfort zone (as so many of us are terrified to actually do). So I signed up for "Approaching Walden," a teacher institute where we learned about the works of Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. The institute took place at the Walden Woods Project in Concord Massachusetts.
To be honest, I had never read anything about HDT or really known much about him. I thought the seminar was going to be about Walden Pond; I had never even heard of the book Walden! I think I was one of only 3 non English or History teachers at the seminar. I did have a really difficult time reading and understanding HDT. I loved his ideals, but his books were a tough read. Luckily I was with HDT lovers and they helped me translate.
At one point in the institute (I think it was day 3), I raised my hand and said, "I need to be honest because I'm having a tough time with Thoreau. I feel like I'm at a party and I don't know what we're celebrating!" I know that students can relate to being frustrated when trying to learn new material and I felt just like one of them!
Overall it was a great experience and I was happy to be involved. I highly recommend it for teachers of all disciplines.
If you're interested in learning more about Approaching Walden, click to visit their website.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. "
I teach art at Burlington High School in Burlington, Massachusetts. My goals include teaching my students to live and thrive with 21st century learning skills while helping them to learn valuable creative artistic thinking and technical skill.