By John Didiego, Tremont Education Director
In a typical year, the social and emotional wellbeing of students might top my list of concerns heading into the school year. Kids can’t even begin to learn when their basic needs aren’t met.
This year, however, that concern is edged out by the needs of another critical education audience: teachers!
How can we expect teachers to provide a loving and caring classroom environment and effectively teach students when they themselves are stressed, uncertain, and concerned for their own safety and wellbeing? Teachers need to feel they belong, and they need a support network of fellow teachers and educational partners that can provide training, resources, expertise, and sometimes just a shoulder to lean (or even cry) on.
Welcome to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont! This fall we are offering critically needed support structures for teachers to experience the Tremont community, reflect, learn, and share both frustrations, but also solutions in the context of a thoughtful and caring network of educators.
Teacher Escape Weekend
We hosted a fun-filled and productive virtual escape last weekend with 12 teachers and administrators from school districts in North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana and Georgia.
One of our participating teachers wrote: “This retreat was well executed and interactive. And I love the tone with which you started and ended the meeting. It made me feel comfortable and really allowed me to be more open and want to share. Bravo!”
There are still openings for our next Teacher Escape, Sept. 25-26. Sign up now!
Community for Schoolyard Teaching and Learning
In partnership with Knox County Health Department, we host a monthly professional development call with local teachers and education partners to support any and all efforts to bring students outdoors for learning. Through these calls, Tremont connects teachers to each other and to the natural world, taking advantage of technology and the lack of on-site programs this fall. Get on the list to receive more information.
Teachers are essential, front-line workers in this time of pandemic. Like everyone else, they need support, inspiration, and courage to continue to care for and build up their students. While we can’t safely host them all at Tremont this fall, we can bring some of that Tremont magic to them in the safety of their homes.