Beginning Teaching in Outdoor Education (or, How I was Inspired to Teach)

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Warning: This post is going to be a little more nostalgic and personal than usual maybe because I just cleaned out a box of letters and pictures from my childhood, maybe because I saw a former student who has since moved abroad and we compared notes about international schools and sports trips, or maybe because it is the beginning of another school year. Whatever the motivation, this reflection is part of understanding who I am as an educator.

When I graduated from college, I wanted as far away from academia as possible. I was tired, very tired, of memorization and tests that had sapped the joy out of learning. Now, I’m beginning my eighth year as a teacher, enthusiastic about learning, and am applying to graduate school. What? Continue reading “Beginning Teaching in Outdoor Education (or, How I was Inspired to Teach)”

Fall is here, ring the bell

OES Bell Tower, Flikr photo credit to Day Tooley

Fall is here, hear the yell

This song by The White Stripes has become a tradition to sing at our first middle school gathering. I got a little choked up singing with everyone on Wednesday, counting my blessings to be part of this community. Although I’ve really been back at work for the last few weeks, it didn’t truly begin until this. Honestly, it feels more like a family reunion than going to work.

Our head of school began last Tuesday with an address to the entire faculty and staff. She referred back to her charge last June to be open to change and wove it into a story about Taliesin House, built by Frank Lloyd Wright. As she describes it, Taliesin is beautiful from a distance, with horizontal and vertical lines that nestle it into the hillside, yet as you get closer, you see that every space in the house is under constant redesign. This makes the building itself feel alive with change as the designers perpetually seek improvement. The metaphor was perfect, even if obvious, in capturing the essence of the constant growth that should take place in a school. While striving for vertical and horizontal coordination, we should all be fundamentally engaged in improving in our individual practice. Furthermore, this metaphor gives us the twofold direction she has chartered for this year: (1) coherent school identity, facilities, and program and (2) curriculum changes to align with PreK-12 curriculum and the Essential Competencies and support system upgrades. Continue reading “Fall is here, ring the bell”