Friday, April 18, 2008

A Bold Idea: Sabbatical

I can now shut up about the fact that when I was in high school I was not selected to go to Governor's School in the summer. In the last week I got my own mini-Governor's School.

About 25 years ago, North Carolina Teacher of the Year Jean Powell suggested in a speech that there be a sort of Governor's School for teachers. The (few and fortunate) high-performing high school kids chosen each year to attend this advanced and fabulously enriching boarding school session always came back so excited about learning.

So, Powell said, why not do the same thing for teachers? And send them back to the classroom re-excited about teaching and learning.

Then-Governor Jim Hunt jumped on the idea and the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching was born.

This week I've been teaching a class here called "Write from your Roots." I feel I'm the one who is refreshed and re-excited about learning...and about my own teaching and writing and living.

The 22 guests--teachers, counselors, and librarians--and the staff I worked with here (Jane Dalton, author of The Compassionate Classroom and Tara Melton-Miller) could teach anybody anything. I hope the "students" have gotten even a fraction of the good from the experience that I have.

If you happen to work for the NC public schools, take a bold step and apply to come here. There's a magic chemistry happening on this 30-acre mountain campus--and no doubt at the coastal Ocracoke site as well.

If you aren't eligible, TAKE A BOLD STEP AND FIND YOUR OWN SABBATICAL SOMEWHERE. Even a few days can be a small lifetime tucked into the big one.

Thanks to Jean Powell who boldly spoke up about a good idea and to Jim Hunt who said: let's do it. And to the Legislature that helps it continue. And of course to NCCAT.

Woohoo! I'm coming back! Take that, Governor's School selection panel of 1965-66!



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7 comments:

Debra w said...

I enjoyed looking at your pictures and am so glad to hear that it was such a positive experience for both the "students" and you! I love that you are willing to share your gift so freely. You could tell people that you want to focus your abilities on your own writing and that you don't have time to share with others, but you don't do that. You open yourself up and you share what you know with those who are hungry for such wonderful inspiration. That is a very special gift, Peggy. Not everyone is willing to do that. You are an angel. When I think about the thousands of lives which you have touched, not only through your beautiful writing, but through your generosity of spirit, I feel both awe and admiration.

You are leaving yet another group of lucky students with a renewed and refreshed perspective on writing and reading. Do you realize how many "voices" you are responsible for setting free? Amazing, friend.

Hugs,
Debbie

candy said...

I am having withdrawals from not being at NCCAT. It was an amazing week, and Peggy, you, truly inspired me. You are a wonderful teacher, guider, and so willing to give of yourself. I came away with a strength of writing that I didn't even know existed. You brought out of us teachers, the ability to share things that were buried but needed to be released. You created a "family" of writers and friends that will long be remembered. I would love to attend other sessions with you.

Thanks,

Candy

Peggy Payne said...

Debbie and Candy, You are both beyond kind. Thanks so much.

Candy, it was a wonderful week for me as well. Unforgettable. And I'd love to work with you again.

(Same to you, Debbie. Back at Rancho.)

Kaystarkindler said...

Please do! You are a phenomenal teacher. I can't tell you how inspired I was to see you encouraging and supporting our fledgling efforts!

Peggy Payne said...

Bless you, Kaystarkindler.

Greta said...

Well, Peggy and readers, I published a note (that is, I tried) last week after returning home from Cullowhee. After 3 days I still have warm feelings and I'm still writing! As Candy said, it was simply amazing how much you, Peggy, gave of yourself and your knowledge/skill/talent as a writer. I've never been part of a group like that...outside of my family,that is. Let's all keep on writing! Greta

Peggy Payne said...

Thanks, Greta, for your message and for your presence and contribution in last week's group. And to think that you were holding back!

I hope you'll come join the chat here often.