Tuesday, July 21, 2015

From the A.T. to the Tetons

Blog Post by Rebecca King
Teacher at Christiansburg Elementary School
Christiansburg, Virginia
 In May, I attended to Spring TTEC workshop at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, VA and had an incredible experience learning from the various facilitators and from my fellow participants.  Some of the key points I took away were:
·         There are many others interested in and committed to education that takes place outside of the classroom – it is not unusual or strange for me to want to take kids hiking.
·         A support network and resources exist for teachers to implement outdoor education
·         The implementation will not always be easy or comfortable, and may require lots of extra and at times complicated planning and collaboration, but it is so, so important.
The timing of the workshop meant that I returned to school the next Monday and spend the next three weeks administering the state standardized assessments all day every day.  The testing process can have its moments of joy - celebrating academic growth and success with the students - but the overall experience is one of pressure and drudgery for all involved.  It reinforced my desire to infuse next year’s teaching with time in nature and moments of learning and success away from the computer screen.

This June, my family and I spent a week in Wyoming visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.  This trip of course included daily hikes through the beautiful mountains and valleys.  I never feel closer to my family than when we are hiking, and it inspired me want to extend outdoor opportunities not just to my students, but to their parents and siblings as well.  Not all of the families I work with have strong family bonds or shared activities.  Many do, but not all.  At Summer Institute I hope to remember this, and incorporate whole-family activities into my planning process.  Ultimately, the lasting impact of the work teachers do is carried on by parents.  

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North Carolina NCCAT participants

North Carolina NCCAT participants
At the Wayah Bald Fire Tower

Mary Jane

Mary Jane
On top of Silers Bald