Teacher preparedness through a different lens

As the summer comes to an end, families are preparing children for the return to school, filling backpacks with school supplies, checking bus schedules, and tending to feelings of anticipation. Educators too are gearing up for the new year ahead of them.

I think back on my time in the classroom when I was preparing and planning for the first day, writing out lesson plans, washing down desks, arranging books and supplies, making special name plates and attending professional development. For many educators, professional development, particularly at the beginning of a school year, is about going over schedules, checking class lists, fire drill procedures, and new curriculum. This planning is crucial for a school to run smoothly and safely, but educators also need time to feel prepared to stand before a group of young people and confidently and calmly guide them on their learning journey. This type of professional development is what the Academy for the Love of Learning offers.

The Academy for the Love of Learning creates transformational professional development that provides opportunities for educators to reflect on who they are and what they believe about teaching and learning, to remember that they too are always learning and discovering new ways of seeing and being. The Academy has been offering professional development to public school educators, in Santa Fe and beyond, for a decade and at the beginning of the 2017/18 school year over 60 educators came out to the Academy campus in early August to reflect and prepare for the school year ahead of them.

This summer the Academy had the privilege of launching two year-long collaborations with three Santa Fe Public Schools that will occur over the course of the school year. Santa Fe High School and Ramirez Thomas Elementary School administrators and a group of teachers from each school came together as a cohort for their first workshop in a professional learning project that seeks to “awaken and sustain a spirit of learning”. Facilitated by Academy faculty, the project is a blend of retreats and trainings designed to promote reflection and on-going teacher learning and renewal in both schools.

The second collaboration involves the entire staff of Milagro, a new Santa Fe middle school. Close to fifty administrators, teachers and other Milagro staff gathered together for two days of experiential workshops and meetings at the Academy campus to begin their school year. Both projects will join together again at the Academy campus in October for the next dip into reflection and experiential learning.