Of course, that's just one reason I choose to put my thoughts before the public in such a way. Another is to build myself up. These kinds of things are Christmas to me, and as an adult I have come to realize that it is the anticipation of Christmas that brings the real magic. I want things to be spontaneous, but at the same time, I like to know things better so I can appreciate them more when they are in front of me.
Yet another reason is to help myself process the information as I am consuming it. The pre-reading materials are sometimes difficult, and just pulling out some key passages and sorting through it in "blog" form is beneficial to my comprehension.
A fourth benefit is to keep my thoughts accessible. If I collect them on a page I can more easily find them when needed. As a teacher, when a question arises or a reference or a photo is needed, I can get to the answers fairly quickly. I, and other teachers, can use my collection of resources to reinforce daily lessons and pique the interest of our students. It aids in the telling of our national story. Of course, it can also be handy in the developing of the "official" lesson that I make available to Fort Ticonderoga as a part of my obligation to the institute.
I loved every moment of our experience at the fort, and my first exposure to Virginia and New York left me with a sense of understanding of a very different region in our country. Additionally, I met people from different backgrounds and perspectives, and yet we all shared commonalities. I got to know some better than others, but there is an appreciation of professionalism and respect. This was a knowledgable group of people and not just people looking for a free vacation. We wanted to learn from scholars and experts. We wanted to feed on conversation about common topics. And we wanted to create ways to encourage students to learn about the history of our nation and the world. Being a part of such a group is truly enriching.
If you have any questions or are considering applying for the Fort Ticonderoga or Mount Vernon Teacher Institutes in the future, please feel free to ask me in the comments below or by email.