Nurturing the Teaching Life:
Tending the Fire Through Late Winter
Courage Saturday retreats are based on the work of Dr. Parker J. Palmer, whose book The Courage to Teach charts a very different path towards developing oneself as a professional educator. Palmer’s fundamental thesis is that “we teach who we are” and that by knowing ourselves more deeply, we become more authentic in the classroom and in other roles we play within a school. The book has gained wide attention in the last decade and given rise to The Center for Courage & Renewal, which supports events that offer educators opportunities to explore the inner landscape.
Each retreat is designed to be unique as well as thematically related as a series. Those interested can register for any or all of the Saturdays: February 25th, April 14th and May 12th.
Content for the retreats is drawn from seasonal metaphors and qualities of teaching life from the specific time of year.
The theme for the first Courage Saturday on February 24th will be “Nurturing the Teaching Life: Tending the Fire Through Late Winter.” At this point in the calendar, we have completed two thirds of the teaching year. We have braced ourselves against the cold for months with the promise of still more. In this retreat we will take time to reflect on the gifts and challenges of winter as well as the nature of this period when energy is often low and educators need to replenish and fortify themselves.
As content shifts with the tones of the season and the changing rhythms of the teaching year, the process of the retreats remains similar. Participants engage with poems and other texts as springboards for individual journaling and are invited to share their insights in small and larger groups. Those who have attended similar retreats speak of the immediate sense of community that is formed when kindred souls form a safe space to explore the intersection of professional role with the inner promptings of one’s life. The guiding principle that “we teach who we are” supports and challenges us to discover that place of alignment from which our words and actions ring most true. In deepening our self-understanding we become more resilient and connected educators and serve our students in more authentic and affirming ways.
Some educators question whether they can afford the luxury of time spent in this way. As one participant asked at a Courage to Teach® event: “Are there specific outcomes in this workshop that I will implement with my students, or is this really just for me?” The answer is both-and: this is really just for you, at least in the beginning; and the benefits of the retreats emerge, sometimes immediately and sometimes more slowly, in very real, substantial ways. Teachers who re-connect with themselves and their original passion for teaching re-engage with their work with a renewed sense of dedication, a quality as essential to good teaching as all of our carefully prepared lesson plans. These retreats promote reflection, relationship, and renewal – critical capacities for enduring, dynamic educators.
While you may register for a single Saturday retreat, consider how participating in the full series can be a potent source of support for maintaining a sense of balance and wellbeing in the midst of a busy professional life.
The daylong events will be led by Cat Greenstreet and Eric Baylin, both of whom are Courage & Renewal® facilitators, affiliated with The Center for Courage & Renewal.
Eric Baylin, M.F.A., recently completed his preparation to be a Courage to Teach® Facilitator through the Center for Courage and Renewal. An art teacher for forty-two years, Eric has spent the last twenty-five at Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn where he has taught in all divisions and also served as Department Chair. He was a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia Teachers College in 1990-91 and in the last several years has offered NYSAIS workshops and consulted in a number of independent schools about using the Critical Friends collaborative approach to professional development.
Cat Greenstreet, M.A., M.Ed. has been co-facilitating Courage to Teach®/Courage to Lead® renewal retreats for teachers and other service professionals since 2005. A teacher for over twenty-five years, Cat has devoted the last 20 years to Waldorf education: as an elementary and high school teacher, as the Director of Teacher Education at Sunbridge College in Rockland County, and as the Lower School Chair at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan. She is currently working as an educational consultant.
Registration - The fee includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and all materials.
Early Registration Fees apply until 2 weeks before the event
Regular Registration Fees apply within 2 weeks of the event