As educators, our role as learners never stops. We have never ‘arrived’ as experts in the disciplines we teach. We are a part of the learning process as much as our students are, and therefore, we model the same attitude toward learning we encourage in our students. Monday was the perfect opportunity within departments to press pause and dig deeply into our work through professional development.
The Social Science Department’s full time members left Andover at 7:00 am for a day of bonding, exploration and lesson planning at the Plymouth colony (Massachusetts) to learn about the English separatist settlement, the Wampanoag homesite, and the unique relationship between these two cultures. The group arrived in 1627 at 10:00 am and met up with Hillary Goodnow ‘08 who works in the Education Department at the Plymouth Plantation. They then spent the remainder of the day learning much from first person ‘interpreters’ and discussing how the highly skilled and knowledgeable staff could help our students better understand history with the ultimate goal of dispelling its myths and stereotypes. The group’s work will continue after their return to Proctor as the department fine tunes its thoughts and impressions into a teaching unit/field trip modeled after James Zull's The Art of Changing the Brain.
Proctor’s Science Department stayed a bit closer to home, but retreated to Blue Water Farm in Andover to explore the process of learning. Chemistry teacher Sue Houston has shared many of her thoughts on this process in her BLOG, but for today’s activity, this group of teachers chose to explore the impact of brain worm impacts on New Hampshire deer and moose populations. Viewer discretion advised!
The Arts Department traveled to the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester to not only take in the remarkable collections there, but to discuss the role of art in our students’ lives and to reinforce the integral role the arts play in student development.
Learning Skills specialists focused the professional day on the impact of mindfulness, wellness, and reflection in student growth. Led by Kristen Nesbitt at the amazing Wonderwell Retreat Center in nearby Springfield, everyone in the department shared their experiences on how they reach the souls of the students they are fortunate to work with so closely.
Math and English Departments furthered their study of ‘assessments’, as math teachers discussed the exams they just gave prior to break, and English teachers engaged in a ‘class’ led by Melanie Maness and Karin Clough, both of whom studied writing at Bard College this past summer.
As the Winter Term gets underway, we are reminded we are all students, always.