The Director and Founder of the Academy for the Love of Learning, Aaron Stern, has been doing renewal work with teachers for many years. However, the origin of the Academy’s Teacher Renewal Program lies in an invited talk given by Aaron Stern at superintendent’s day for Rondout School District in upstate New York in 2003. The talk was to be on the subject of bringing the arts into education. However, in his talk, Aaron emphasized that we will never be able to bring the arts into education until we start to work with, and acknowledge, the “art-part” of the human being (child). He conveyed how essential this was to address and develop. In addition, he suggested that this art-part of the human being could serve as a source of renewal for teachers, both supporting and transforming their work in the classroom. After the talk, three principals, and the Assistant Superintendent from the district, approached Aaron and asked for help in pursuing this idea by developing a program for teachers at their schools. Thus the Academy’s New York teacher renewal program began. The program initially focused on three elementary schools and one middle school in the district and involved both teachers and administrators. It is now moving to additional schools in a neighboring school district.
The basis of the Academy’s approach to teacher renewal involves a deep engagement with, and investigation of, the learning process itself. Experiential methods are combined with reflection, contemplation and dialogue into a transformative process whose goal is the re-acquaintance with one's innate love of learning. In facilitated workshops and teacher-led renewal activities, teachers become reacquainted with their original calling to teach and their passion for learning. This becomes the fuel – a renewable resource – that leads to ongoing renewal. It also changes how teachers are in the classroom, as they transmit this deepening passion to their students.
Teacher Renewal in Santa Fe
Teacher Renewal Levels 1-3
In the midst of today’s busy school schedule, is it possible to imagine the educational environment permeated, not by the fear of falling behind, but by the love of learning? The Academy for the Love of Learning is establishing a long-term teacher renewal program in Santa Fe that is based on the belief that profound learning experiences can lead teachers to a deeper connection with their original inspiration to teach. This then provides a source of energy that counters teacher burnout, changes how teachers are in the classroom, and improves teacher retention in schools. What can be more inspiring to us than the energy of our natural curiosity? Furthermore, this reanimated love of learning is transmitted to children in the classroom – it is infectious. Our program involves ongoing workshops, the formation of teacher support networks, and renewal work created by teachers themselves, with our support.
The Academy for the Love of Learning invites teachers to a series of workshops that will provide a container for a deep exploration of these questions.
- How can teachers regain and maintain contact with their deep vocational longing even when overwhelmed or discouraged in the midst of the daily stresses of teaching?
- Can this source of energy and motivation be accessed as a key renewable resource in order to sustain and transform what teachers do in the classroom?
We have begun our teacher renewal program, which involves ongoing workshops, the formation of teacher support networks, and renewal work created by teachers themselves. Ultimately, the Academy is initiating a program in Santa Fe that will provide ongoing support for teachers to discover and live out the renewable resource of their own heartfelt dreams of what teaching can and should be. Our program also includes a summer institute for teachers. Please join us and become part of the foundation and co-creation of this program for teachers in Santa Fe.
Note: Our program is approved as professional development for Santa Fe teachers within the district.
For more information contact Patty Lee at email@example.com.
Quotes from Teacher Renewal Participants
New York Program
“The teacher renewal work has helped me to see the big picture and the overarching purpose for teaching. I feel more prepared as a human to present myself to my students as well as my colleagues. I know it helps me to feel better about myself and what I do as a person. It is work that needs to be ongoing.“
"For me, the creative and contemplative nature of our human heart/mind thrives when we give it structure and freedom. I love workshop experiences like this, where there is structure and spontaneity. You struck a lovely, vital balance."
New Mexico Workshop
“I was inspired deeply about teaching. There was a feeling of camaraderie and comfortableness — I want more!”
“I was reminded of the importance of reflection in learning.”
“I learned I am not alone in the challenges I face. I liked and responded to the whole process. I enjoyed everyone involved and want to go down this (renewal) path.”
“I feel deeply touched, greatly inspired and immensely grateful. I especially appreciated the time that was taken to sit in a circle, to listen to beautiful music and to one another, and the rekindling of hope that we can make positive changes.”
“I felt energized, empowered and connected to myself and others. I loved conversing heart to heart about the essence of living and learning.”
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