I am currently applying to attend the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute in the summer of 2020. The first question on the application asks to describe at least three reasons I would like to attend. My approach to the answer was to give as many honest reasons as I could. I wanted to think of every aspect of the teacher institute, every experience that would be a part of a week spent at Williamsburg.
I took a gander at the sample schedule posted on the CWTI webpage, and I realized that the institute is broad and detailed: broad in that it includes a variety of character presentations, collaborative sessions, and "field trips" to Jamestowne and Yorktown, each of which fascinate the armchair history buff in me.
Here are the reasons I submitted:
1. I would like to attend the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute to experience a part America's story has fascinated me as a child, and I can't get enough of it today.
2. Missouri's newest Social Studies standards have placed the founding era into the fourth grade for the first time, and I have since sought to nurture and satisfy my own interests in the material. My students and I spend the entire school year in the second half of the 18th century.
3. There are holes in my history programming that will be filled with the knowledge and strategies acquired at the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute.
4. As a teacher in the Midwest, I have no local options for experiencing the Colonial and Revolutionary Era. To fully comprehend this pivotal era, I must explore the streets and alleys of Colonial Williamsburg, cast my gaze upon the waters at Jamestown, and transport back in time to the pivotal battle at Yorktown.
5. Students and members of the community have lost civil discourse and direction. I desperately wish to resurrect history - especially American history - in our classrooms. The same has occurred with Government and Economics at the elementary level.
6. I long to meet and collaborate with dedicated educators from different regions of our nation.
7. I look forward to being in the presence of authentic objects and primary documents and to be allowed to interact with them and appreciate them in person.
8. It is difficult to imagine the hardships of the founding era by scanning photos online.
9. Speaking of photos, I want to take about a thousand of them to share with my peers, students, family, and friends.
10. I am awed by history scholars who can communicate well and relate to people who are not history scholars, but who still have a rich interest in the subject.
11. Mount Vernon introduced me to the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, and I met French soldiers at Fort Ticonderoga, but at Colonial Williamsburg I will walk with regular people. Non-gentrified folks, and people from varying cultures called the area home. I need to sweat alongside those people, look into their tired eyes, and wonder at how they survived the tumultuous birth of our free nation. What a rich opportunity - to walk in the footsteps of our founders, to stand in the presence of the common person, and to envision the lifestyles of the natives and the enslaved! As I understand the sample schedule, the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute includes more than just a history of warfare, but will also focus on the typical lives of real, everyday people.
12. I am prepared to be surprised and awed by anything the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute throws at me.
13. I am already packed and eager to "get my hands dirty", and I am ready to partner with Colonial Williamsburg for this quest.