Looking out onto Walden Pond on a beautiful summer day
I hope everyone had a great summer! Teacher vacations are always so relaxing. I did have some great beach days and was able to read a bit. My favorite part of the summer is getting together with friends and family. I do still try to find rich experiences to keep myself relevant and find new and innovative educational practices. I usually sign up for an art related course or activity, but this year I thought I'd take myself out of my comfort zone (as so many of us are terrified to actually do). So I signed up for "Approaching Walden," a teacher institute where we learned about the works of Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. The institute took place at the Walden Woods Project in Concord Massachusetts.
To be honest, I had never read anything about HDT or really known much about him. I thought the seminar was going to be about Walden Pond; I had never even heard of the book Walden! I think I was one of only 3 non English or History teachers at the seminar. I did have a really difficult time reading and understanding HDT. I loved his ideals, but his books were a tough read. Luckily I was with HDT lovers and they helped me translate.
At one point in the institute (I think it was day 3), I raised my hand and said, "I need to be honest because I'm having a tough time with Thoreau. I feel like I'm at a party and I don't know what we're celebrating!" I know that students can relate to being frustrated when trying to learn new material and I felt just like one of them!
Overall it was a great experience and I was happy to be involved. I highly recommend it for teachers of all disciplines.
If you're interested in learning more about Approaching Walden, click to visit their website.