Monday, July 29, 2013

Mickelson ExxonMobil Teacher Academy

I have been MIA for at least 2 weeks now. My husband and I took a vacation, our last before the baby comes and probably our last big one for a few years.

I mentioned a few months ago that I was accepted into the Mickelson Exxonmobil Teacher Academy in Jersey City, New Jersey. Our trip was based around that academy. We flew out a few days early, visited DC, and spent a few days in NYC before the Academy started. While I was in class all day, my husband would explore the city and I would catch up with him at night.

This was the view from our hotel room at the Academy. Absolutely amazing!

What is even better than that was the Academy itself. I spent a week stretching my brain and my way of thinking about teaching. I don't think I was a bad teacher before, but this academy has made me see many ways where I can take my teaching to the next level and help my students grow.

I don't remember anything from elementary science. And I don't expect that all of my kids will remember forever what I teach them. But there are a few skills or practices I have always wanted them to walk away with. The ability to question, argue, find evidence, reason, problem solve, etc. I would love if all my students walked away from my classroom wanting to be scientists, but even more important I want them to have those critical thinking skills that can be applied in all subjects and aspects of life.

This is the first professional development I have ever walked away from where I feel prepared to help my students develop these skills. My teaching and my classroom will never be the same.

We spent a week doing inquiry-based lessons. We actually went through lessons that will have our students go through. I got to experience frustration, amazement, disequilibrium, and those "ah-ha" moments that our kids might experience as they go through some of our lessons. It is always a great reminder to feel what students might go through during our own lessons.

And we were treated like royalty. Those who run and fund the academy, made sure to emphasize the appreciation they have for teachers. It felt good after hearing "What do you do all day?" all summer long.

I cannot recommend this academy enough. If you are a 3-5 grade math or science teacher, you should most definitely apply!

Go to Send My Teacher and apply. If the experience isn't enough to motivate, remember that the academy pays for everything. Plane ticket, hotel and food. Because my husband went with me, we paid for his plane ticket and the hotel and food for the days before the academy. Once the academy started, he had to find and pay for his own food. But he got to stay in my hotel room.

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