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Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute groupie

Teachers at Jamestown

Finally, after four days of me trailing after them from Jamestown to the slave cabin at Colonial Williamsburg to the taverns to the costume shop, one of the teachers said, “Honestly, who would follow after a bunch of social studies teachers?!”

Me. I’m a hardcore groupie! I love hanging with those who think it’s important to teach the next generation about the highpoints and problems and vital choices of our past. I think it will affect our future.

I’ve worked with Colonial Williamsburg staffers in many ways since I moved here in 1992, but it was still a welcome surprise when CW invited me to spend a week shadowing one session of their summer Teacher Institute. For almost two decades, CW has given master teachers a chance to renew their knowledge of Colonial times and pick up new tricks for making history vital. They bring in about 600 every year from across the country, many of them paid for by donors in their home state. I jumped at the chance.

I did learn some new things myself and corrected some misconceptions that had creeped in to my own knowledge base. But mostly it was just fun to see these folks from Texas and California and Wisconsin and Washington play around the Historic Triangle — they acted like it was history teacher Disneyland. One woman had spent time in Virginia as a girl in segregated days and was happy to see the story of slavery portrayed so well at Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg. One woman had worked summer school in her Florida district so she could pay for this and make it a vacation with her daughter, who also teaches. Many had never been to Colonial Williamsburg and were awestruck at the detail this place offers. At the end of the week one young teacher said, “I can’t WAIT to get back and NOT use my textbook!”

What can I say, I’m a history geek. Yes, yes, it’s good business for me to hang with them — these 29 teachers found my comix in the various gift shops around town and went nuts for them, but that’s not why I did this. My interest in education and history and kids is so strong that the transition between all the hats I now wear feels seamless to me. Often during the week I would pivot in an instant from being student to being a teacher of history. But it’s ALL advocacy!

Send me a message or post to this note if you’d like more details on what I saw and did with the Teacher Institute! You can also find official info on CW’s website:

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This entry was posted on Sunday, July 27th, 2008 at 12:29 pm and is filed under History Teacher. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute groupie”

  1. Theresa Highlands says:

    This is a great write up. Kathy and I had a wonderful week. We enjoyed the times when you taged alonged.

  2. Bentley Boyd says:

    More write up coming! I’ll copy the story I write for the Daily Press onto this page when the story runs – maybe tomorrow or over the weekend!

  3. Dana Klusener says:

    Bentley, it was super reading both this and the write up for the Daily Press! I will share both with the HISD press department if it is okay…they will probably do a write-up on the Houston teachers for our website. Thanks for sharing your time, knowledge, and wonderful comix with us!

  4. Bentley Boyd says:

    Thanks, Dana! It would be great to get the word out to HISD about your great work at CW and the chance I got to experience it with you guys. Please let me know when the story hits your website – I’d love to see it or even link to it here.

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