Our best teaching comes from bringing who we are (our passions and creativity) to what we do. But this kind of authentic, heart-centered engagement with our work is hard to maintain in the face of the energy-draining demands of today’s education system that appears to focus more on test results than on the humanity of teachers and their students. We need time to reconnect with ourselves and find new inspiration within the subjects we teach.
This course will help renew participants’ enthusiasm for their work by reflecting on their own teaching journey and exploring the stories of other teachers. Throughout the course, participants will keep a journal in which to make several (or more frequent), weekly entries.
Participants will have time to reflect upon what has meaning for them and to examine how to make that inspiration come alive again in their teaching. Accounts from the lives of teachers from our text – Stories of the Courage to Teach – (which is based on Parker Palmer’s work) will be our mirror. Many of the teachers featured in this anthology have, at various junctures, been on the verge of exhaustion, and the book is, in many ways, a sustained meditation on how they have sought to regain their emotional and spiritual strength.
Required Reading in addition to the course text: Mike Seymour's article on, Why & How to Keep a Personal Journal, can be found below the bibliography section of the syllabus.
Four inspirational films (all available from Netflix) will offer time for further reflection. They can include a number of movies chosen from Dead Poet’s Society, Freedom Writers, Hoosiers, Stand & Deliver, The Great Debaters, Mr. Holland’s Opus and Remember the Titans, or others of your own selection.
We advise you to review and download a summary of the course syllabus
Support kindness, respect for others, an attitude for service and a variety of other positive character traits by learning how to incorporate the literature and themes found in Dr. Seuss books, one of the most beloved of children's authors.
Climate change poses the single largest, global threat to life on Earth, and yet the United States and our schools lag far behind the international community in educating and acting responsibly to mitigate the causes and effects of a warming planet. This online course for grades 3-7 teachers uses excellent platforms developed by NASA and the EPA to educate about the science of climate change in kid-friendly, interdisciplinary ways. Youthful graphics, games, lesson samples that cut across science, social studies and math, virtual expeditions to places where climate change is visible, CO2 footprint calculators and more make this a rich learning environment from which grades 3-7 teachers will develop their own units and themes—whether that’s oceans, birds, butterflies, fish, trees, fresh water supplies. Many of your common science units can be modified with a climate change perspective (ie ocean life, plants and animals).