|Ten ways to smarten up your vacation.|
Dan Napolitano is something of a professional-development connoisseur. Like a wine buff, he keeps up with what’s good from year to year, and he knows what he likes. The 38-year-old religious-studies teacher got hooked a few years ago when he won a summer fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and wound up in England studying the Industrial Revolution. A fellowship with the Anti-Defamation League followed, and then another with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Thanks in part to these summer experiences, Napolitano, who teaches at Georgetown Prep, an all-boys private school in Bethesda, Maryland, has become a part-time scholar and has won respect and honors. He’s traveled the country, talking to educators about the guide he’s developed for teaching the Holocaust in Catholic schools and the book he’s writing about the history of anti-Semitism. And he recently spoke in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol at a ceremony to remember Holocaust victims.
Of course, not all teachers who enroll in summer institutes find it such a life-changing experience. Some programs are undoubtedly a waste of time and money. But many alumni of summer institutes, fellowships, and workshops testify to the benefits of getting outside the classroom, meeting experts, talking shop with colleagues, and adding to their knowledge base.
|One of the most popular Teacher at Sea programs is a study of swordfish ... off the coast of Hawaii.|
Perhaps most important, these teachers say, the experience can rekindle the fire for the classroom. Napolitano credits his summer work with rejuvenating his 15-year career. He says most teachers lose some enthusiasm as they approach a decade of teaching. “Summer institutes remind you why you love to learn.”
With that in mind, we offer a roundup of some unusual summer institutes, fellowships, workshops, and programs for teachers. These are not run-of-the-mill, dim-the-lights-and-turn-on-the-overhead programs. Some take teachers to exotic locales for intensive field work. Others shower them with VIP treatment and give them access to closed-to-the-public archives and libraries. But whether they put you standing on a boat deck knee-deep in fish guts or stuff you into Colonial-era wig and knickers, these programs all offer something different.
Far-Flung Adventures Earthwatch Expeditions
|WHAT: A chance to do field research in exotic spots. Earthwatch, an international nonprofit organization, has sent more than 8,000 teachers, librarians, administrators, and students on expeditions to spots around the world. About 20 percent of its volunteers each year are educators. Teachers work with field scientists on one- to three-week projects. Expeditions in 1998 included studies of Ontario’s ancient forests, Australian dolphins, and the ancestors of Arizona’s Hopi Indians.|
|WHO: Open to all educators.|
|WHERE: Selected Earthwatch fellows work on more than 70 projects in the U.S. and approximately 50 other countries worldwide. Destinations include the Bahamas, Russia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Montana. Educators who do not get fellowships can apply to volunteer on any of Earthwatch’s more than 120 expeditions.|
|WHEN: Expeditions run through the spring and summer.|
|WHY: The expeditions can prove fertile ground for building innovative new lesson plans. More than 80 percent of teachers surveyed by Earthwatch after their expeditions reported that they teach differently as a result of the experience. An example: Anthony Cardillo had his class at Yeshiva of Los Angeles High School excavate a plot of land for artifacts of a lost culture after he worked an Earthwatch archeological dig on a sugar plantation on the West Indian island of Nevis.|
|MONEY MATTERS: Expeditions are pricey--they run anywhere from $800 to $2,000--and competition for the fellowships is stiff. Earthwatch received about 650 applications last year and gave 300 awards, half of them covering the full cost.|
|INSIDE SCOOP: New funding this year could support as many as 40 more fellowships.|
|BONUS: Some states give teachers professional-development credit for the expeditions.|
Contact: Matt Craig, Education Awards Manager, 680 Mount Auburn St., Box 9104, Watertown, MA 02272-9104; (800) 776-0188, ext. 118; www.earthwatch.org.
Cost: $800-$2,000 without fellowship. Deadline: February 15. Graduate credit available at additional cost.
The Holocaust Mandel Teacher Fellowship
Contact: Mandel Teacher Fellowship Program, Education Division, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl. S.W., Washington, DC 20024; (202) 314-7826; www.ushmm.org. Deadline: February 12. Graduate credit not available.
Birth of a Nation Summer Teacher Institute in Early American History
Contact: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, School and Group Services, P.O. Box 1776, Williamsburg, VA 23187; (757) 220-7582. Cost: $1,475, all-inclusive. Deadline: March 31. Graduate credit available at additional cost.
Anchors Aweigh Teacher at Sea Program
Contact: Judy Sohl, Teacher at Sea Program, 1801 Fairview Ave. E., Seattle, WA 98102; (206) 553-2633; applications available at www.tas.noaa.gov.
Wired In D.C. C-SPAN Teacher Fellowships
Contact: C-SPAN High School Teacher Fellowship Program, C-SPAN, c /o Education Relations, Suite 650, 400 N. Capitol St. N.W., Washington, DC 20001; (800) 523-7586; www.c-span.org. Deadline: February 26. Graduate credit not available.
The Nation’s Attic The Smithsonian Institution’s Summer Institutes for Teachers
Contact: Smithsonian Summer Seminars for Teachers, Smithsonian Office of Education, Smithsonian Institution, A&I 1163/MRC 402, Washington, DC 20560; (202) 357-3050.
Everyday Science Summer Institutes of the Museum Institute for Teaching Science
Contact:MITS Inc., 79 Milk St., Suite 210, Boston, MA 02109-3903; (617) 695-9771; email: email@example.com.
Country Learning Bread Loaf School of English
Contact: Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 05753; (802) 443-5418; www.blse.middlebury.edu. Cost: Vermont, $4,420; Oxford, $5,200; Rowe, $4,770; Juneau, $4,760. Fees cover tuition, room, and board. Rolling admission begins in February and closes May 15. Early application is encouraged.
The Human Element National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars And Institutes for School Teachers
Contact: National Endowment for the Humanities, Seminars and Institutes Program, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20506; (202) 606-8463; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline: March 1. Graduate credit not available.
Talk To The Animals The Bronx Zoo Summer Workshops
Contact: Ann Robinson, Manager of National Programs, Wildlife Conservation Society, 185th St. and Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10460-1099; (800) 737-5131. Cost: $295. No application deadline, but program staff ask that you “apply as soon as possible.” Graduate credit available at additional cost.
PHOTO: Ecostudy: Earthwatch teacher takes a sample in an Ontario forest