About Fund for Teachers
Fund for Teachers (FFT) is a non-profit that supports educators’ efforts to develop skills, knowledge, and confidence that impact student achievement. FFT believes that the most important learner in any classroom is the teacher. They allow teachers to develop their own personal and professional growth opportunities. By trusting teachers to design unique fellowships, FFT validates teachers’ professionalism and leadership. Since 2001, Fund for Teachers has invested $22 million in nearly 6,000 teachers, transforming grants into growth for teachers and their students.
Fund for Teachers enriches the personal and professional growth of teachers by recognizing and supporting them as they identify and pursue opportunities around the globe that will have the greatest impact on their practice, the academic lives of their students and on their school communities.
– Fund for Teachers Mission Statement
About My Fellowship
The purpose of my fellowship was to travel to Barcelona, Spain and attend Shelley Berc and Alejandro Fogel’s Creativity Workshop. The Creativity Workshop is a dynamic six-day workshop that combines travel, interactive experiences, and collaboration with other professionals to develop the creative process and encourage innovation. I explored my own creative identity and learned techniques to engage my students in the creative process. I learned strategies that would spark my students’ innate curiosity. In addition, I discovered methods that would inspire my students to explore the creative process so they could confidently design engineering projects and engage in experimental design as well as investigate history using artifacts, maps, and other primary sources. I also explored the rich Catalan culture and learned about artists and architects who used creativity and innovation to influence society.
I was inspired to write my grant and attend the Creativity Workshop because I found that my students were uncomfortable having a leading role constructing their own knowledge. They were afraid to take an active role in how they learned. Over time, I found my students were becoming less willing to think creatively or outside the box.
It was disconcerting to watch my students become less imaginative year after year. My students’ surprising apprehension to take risks and think creatively was a huge obstacle for me as a primary school science and social studies teacher. Yet, an even bigger obstacle was that I was losing my own creative identity professionally. I was finding myself constantly overwhelmed with new curriculum and consumed with high-stakes testing. Sir Ken Robinson said, “The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued“. Somewhere over the past few years I started to lose my identity as a creative leader.
I needed to get my pedagogical groove back!
Note: The focus of my upcoming blog posts will be about my fellowship and learning adventure in Spain. Spoiler Alert! It was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience.