In the fall I will begin my seventh year of teaching. I've been at the same district since I graduated from the University of Nebraska (go Huskers - had it get that in). Our community and school are amazing and my administrators believe in their teachers. They believe that quality educators know what's best for their students and empower each of us to challenge ourselves and our kids. The community is very supportive. Despite the recent trend of consolidation and school closings in the state, we just built a new high school building that also includes a community library. The most amazing thing about this endeavor is that it is not being paid for through tax money or a bond. The funding has come strictly from private donations and fundraising events!
I applied for this seminar because of the encouragement of our Project's director. I almost applied last year but chickened-out at the last moment. When he (the director) contacted me in late fall about applying, I began to overcome my doubt and believe that not only would I be accepted, but that I would actually travel to NYC alone! The hardest part will be leaving my three kids and husband for almost two weeks. I'm going to miss them terribly, but I trust that by the second day I'll be so immersed in the experience that it will sooth any homesickness I feel.
I am the only high school English teacher in my district and the Nebraska Writing Project has been an important outlet for me. This is one reason I applied for the seminar - to discuss meaningful teaching with others who have similar goals and objectives as I do.
I have so many goals for this seminar, but some of the major ones include the following:
- Connect my students with others from across the nation (online discussions, podcasting, shared writing, etc.)
- Develop a local study about persecution in comparison to the Jewish persecution in the Holocaust (For example, I grew up Mennonite which is a pacifist religion. During times of combat, pacifists traditionally register as conscientious objectors. This has been a point of contention locally and even within my own family.)
- Humanitarian connection - appreciation for those who "give back" and work to make a difference
- Learn more about recent genocides and how to bring these subjects to my students in a more meaningful way
- Shop, buy souvenirs, see a show, take it all in...(I love souvenir t-shirts, it's an addiction I think)