The school year is now in full swing, but for 33 educators in Southern California and Maine, school was in session this summer…and they were the students. These were the pilot participants in SPIRITWORKS, a transformative approach to professional development introduced this August at two Summer Institutes. Built around the SPIRITWORKS Leadership model, distilled from thousands of hours of classroom instruction, this method begins from a basic principle: transformative outcomes with students must begin with transformation in ourselves.
“It put me on the other foot,” says participant Nick Witte, an English Language Arts teacher from Freeport Middle School in Maine. “I had to all of a sudden be that person that I want my students to be.” Andrea Feigner, another Maine participant, added: “It created this setting where there was complete trust…[the self-discovery] was often emotional, deeply emotional because it rang so true. You begin to think about not only your impact as a teacher on children, but your impact as a human being in your own community…and in the world.”
Participants in the two-day Institutes are now enrolled in a 9-month integration phase of the training: Spirit Year. Some will also go on to complete the full 60-hour Teacher Certification curriculum this year and qualify to self-implement SPIRIT SERIES in their schools, ultimately making our values and literacy intervention available to thousands more students every year, while equipping classroom teachers with a mindset they can use in every aspect of their teaching. SERIES board member, Brenda Rodriguez, attended the Southern California Institute and concluded: “This is exactly the kind of work our world so desperately needs!” Feigner, a veteran elementary educator, concurs: “I would recommend SPIRITWORKS not just to teachers but to pretty much everyone…It is profoundly introspective and mindful.” Learn more here.