Reflecting Back on aTi Summer 2011
For two weeks classroom teachers, education professionals, administrators and artists were immersed into a variety of art forms including book arts, creative movement, music, printmaking, storytelling, theater, mixed media and writing. Led by professional arts instructors, the Artist/Teacher Institute (aTi) participants broke through barriers to creative teaching and learning and connected with a community of peers, emerging refreshed, renewed, energized and inspired.
The article below was written by High School English Teacher Christine Salvatore-Smith about her aTi experience in poetry and book arts.
Teacher gets the chance to bask in poetry and be challenged by book arts!
High school English teacher, Christine Salvatore-Smith, often finds herself lagging in spirit and creativity by the end of the school year. When the summer comes, she has found just antidote for her woes. Instead of spending eight weeks lounging on the beach or fretting over new lesson plans, Ms. Salvatore-Smith attends aTi, a program for artist and teachers. There , she says, she finds the spark that will help her to teach better, lead better, and be a better person all around.
Ms. Salvatore-Smith tells us, “I am proud to be a public school teacher and love the kids and material I teach. With so many changes in education reform happening right now, we sometimes lose sight of the real joys in learning. Attending aTi puts me back behind the student desk, and reminds me how creative teaching is at the heart of great learning.”
Ms. Salvatore-Smith took Advanced Poetry Writing with local poet Peter E. Murphy as her three hour morning major and Book Arts with local artist Mary Phelon as her two hour minor in the afternoons.
Salvatore-Smith explains her choices, “I’ve always written poetry and as a Creative Writing teacher, I think you have to write in order to teach. I come to aTi to work on my own writing but that’s not the only reason.” Salvatore-Smith goes on to say that the techniques she learned from Peter Murphy are techniques that she can translate into lesson plans for her Creative Writing students and even her AP Literature students, “He helps us generate ideas and then revise until our work is better. He’s full of tips and strategies that I can pass on to my students to help them write better. These strategies work; I know because I’ve tested them.
The second best thing about aTi, Salvatore-Smith tells us, is the community of teachers that evolves. Teachers come from all of over South Jersey to create and learn together, ” We share ideas and talk about what it means to be a teacher. aTi is a place tremendous support for teachers in any discipline.”
Ms. Salvatore-Smith plans to attend next year. “I’ll never stop learning to be a better teacher.”
See what other participants had to say about aTi and view some of the work produced this summer!
“Thank you for caring about us so much. It matters more to us than you can imagine. You may call it professional development but I call it soul feeding! I am already looking forward to next year…a thought that will renew my motivation during some inevitable upcoming school year situations.”
“Another perk aTi affords me is to share a wonderful and nourishing ten days with teachers as students. Don’t think I’ve ever seen so many of my fellow teachers as happy and excited as they are at your wonderful program.”