At the end of my final faculty meeting as Dean of Faculty Development at The Athenian School, I invited everyone to turn and talk to their neighbors about their plans for summer learning: not the assigned educational articles that I had sent out that morning along with the agenda, but their own chosen reading and projects planned. Despite the fact that we were all exhausted from the hard work of ending the school year, the room quickly filled with the buzz of excited conversation.
I turned to the two colleagues nearest me and shared with them that I expected my summer to be full of learning in my new role as the Executive Director of the CATDC, and was looking forward to participating in my first workshop in this capacity: Equity as Excellence. Then I listened as one faculty member told of a trip he would take to Iran to do research for his Middle Eastern History class. The other was bound for the United Kingdom; while a Shakespeare expert, he would be teaching “Measure for Measure” for the first time in the fall and planned to see the play at the Globe theater in London as part of his preparation.
I was delighted to hear about how they were both following their passions in pursuits that would so enrich the experience of their students. Only later did it strike me that my two colleagues were heading to areas that had recently been struck by terror attacks. There was no mention of these events during our short conversations; no concerns expressed. They would simply go forward with their plans.
I draw inspiration from the many people who have been directly impacted by these senseless acts of violence, who carry on with their lives so courageously. And I gain hope from the work of educators doing what they can to dispel ignorance. Life must go on, and the learning continues; indeed, how much more important education has become during these tumultuous times, especially education that encourages critical thinking, builds empathy, and supports equity and inclusion.
Whatever your own summer has in store for you, I hope that you make time to rest and rejuvenate as well as to reinvigorate your own love of learning; to become a student again, so that you may enrich this ever more valuable endeavor of teaching.
Lisa Haney: Lisa Haney is the incoming Executive Director of the CATDC and a lifelong educator of youth and adults. She has served in many positions in her 25-year career at the Athenian School in Danville, California, including International Program Director, Humanities Teacher, Department Chair, and Dean of Faculty Development. Beyond Athenian, Lisa has engaged in teacher education through UC Berkeley Extension, the San Francisco Unified School District, and the Tanzania Ministry of Education.