Plan of Attack for my Sustainable Living-Themed Research Article and Project

Research Article: Timeline and Plan for my Sustainable Living- Themed Research Article

What am I researching?

For my research article, I’ve decided to investigate something that I believe is relevant to every living and non-living being on this planet: tacos! No, just kidding. I’ll be researching sustainability as a topic, as a lifestyle, and how it is or is not attainable for the Average Joe. There are so many considerations I’ll need to take into account, so I’m toying with the idea of using the Socratic Method. By this, I mean I’ll ask a question, answer it, and then each answer will beg another question, and so on and so forth. I’m hoping to interview professionals in this field to get their personal opinions on the matter, specifically Dr. Len Reitsma and Dr. Brian Eisenhauer, and I’d really like to conclude with a solid yes or no to the following question: Is a sustainable lifestyle attainable to everyone?

 Why?

The why of this article spreads far and wide. I care on a personal level, I care on a local level, I care on a global level…it goes on. Personally, knowing about the limits and opportunities for a sustainable lifestyle will keep me and my wallet healthy. On a local and global level, I want to see resources maintained and preserved for future generations, and I want people to be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor without destroying the natural flora and fauna that surrounds. I hope that at least one person can read this and maybe think twice about the lifestyle they lead.

 Thoughts Overall:

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CCBY Elliot Brown https://flic.kr/p/bA52Vt

Overall, it’s a hell of a question to answer. There are so many avenues to go down, and so many sub-questions to answer; it’s a very nuanced topic, and like Socrates’ work, each response begs another question. I am, however, really interested in the topic, and I look forward to compiling the research and writing something up that could potentially shape the way I build towards my future as an educator.

Timeline: 11 weeks until the due date
R+TN = Read and Take Notes
Week 1 of Sept 26:
R+TN on 2 articles
Make a loose outline for the paper
Week 2 of Oct 3
R+TN on 2 more sources
Definitively create the outline
Week 3 of Oct 10
R+TN on 2 more sources
Interview Dr. Brian Eisenhauer
Draft Introduction and Key Terms
 Week 4 of Oct 17
R+TN on 2 more sources
Write up Dr. Brian Eisenhauer’s piece
Interview Dr. Len Reitsma
Draft another section of the paper
Week 5 of Oct 24
R+TN on 2 more sources
Draft another section of the paper
Week 6 of Oct 31
R+TN on 2 more sources
Draft another section of the paper
Week 7 of Nov 7
R+TN on 2 more sources
Draft another section of the paper
Week 8 of Nov 14
R+TN on 2 more sources
Draft another section of the paper
Week 9 of Nov 21
Start to revise and edit
Week 10 of Nov 28
Bring the paper to the Writing Center for peer review
Week 11 of Dec 5
Bring paper to the WC again
Week 12: DUE!

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Research Project: Life in the Upside-Down Ice Cream Cone

What am I doing?

For my applied project for the Interdisciplinary Studies Capstone, I’ve decided to live in a Tipi and document my misadventures. I’ll be living there for all fourteen weeks of the semester, in the hopes that I will begin to practice what I’ve been learning and preaching in all of my classes. I also hope that I can educate the local community about the process so that others might be inspired to follow suit, or at least choose a more sustainable method of living.

IMG_0059Why am I doing it?

I’m doing this, yes, for the challenge and the adventure, but more so because I want to reduce my impact. After calculating my carbon footprint, I decided that it was time I
make a big change in the way that I was living. Also, I want to use this opportunity to, like I said, educate others who might be struggling to find ways to actually live in harmony with the Earth.

How am I doing it?

I’ll be blogging every week or so, updating my progress. I also plan to do a video blog or tour at some point to make it a bit more multimedia. Lastly, I’ll be photographing the tipi as the seasons change.

Thoughts Overall:

I’m really looking forward to having some purpose behind the project. I have several forums that I can use to educate folks (visiting Steven Whitman’s sustainable structures class, being interviewed by multiple sources, and perhaps presenting at a conference), so I’m excited to field any questions that come my way.

Timeline: 11 weeks until the due date
Each week/two: Write and publish a blog post
By October 20: Have a plan for where (if at all) I will be presenting about the experiences.

 

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Tipi Life: Weeks 3 & 4

 My Dad asked me the other day if I ever got scared up here all alone in the woods. Sure enough, I had just listened to an hour-long podcast about a serial killer, so at that moment, I for SURE thought I was about to be bamboozled, for lack of a graphic term, by a dude running out of the trees.

“Totally,” I told him.

He clarified: “I meant scared by, I dunno, coyotes?”

“Oh.”

I don’t feel too nervous about any wildlife out here, maybe naively because I believe I am Snow White and the animals are all my brothers and sisters. However, the method I’ve taken to in the last couple weeks, when I do sometimes get a little uneasy, is, I kid you not, to yodel. I figure: A) yodeling is hilarious, so at the very least, I’ll get a laugh out of myself, B) What serial killer/coyote is going to want to attack someone who yodels badly and often, and C) Maybe if I got good, I could summon some mountain goats, and they could protect me. Foolproof, I know.

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I’ve come a long way from the first archetype… (this is what happens when the Burgesses are let loose on a beach in NZ for 4 hours)

Structural Updates

To further avoid the leakage/flood situation, I added a raised platform inside the tipi out of wood, and covered that up with a blanket for extra coziness. The only downside is that by literally walking the plank every day, I feel like a pirate.

Musings

 Life in the cone of shame has regularized over the last few weeks, which has given me more time to think about the “why?” of this whole project, rather than just the “how?”and “what?” The first idea that came to mind, or phrase, rather, was: practice what you preach. I found it hypocritical that I was studying environmental education, preparing to talk the talk, and yet I wasn’t walking the walk. I was more than ready to teach about how precious and finite fossil fuels are, how important it is to conserve water, and how we need to be vigilant about checking the sources of our products that we buy; at the same time, I was living in a warm apartment, taking showers once or sometimes twice a day, and always buying new. Something’s wrong with that.

I’m not saying that living a comfortable lifestyle is unsustainable; these are just observations I made in my own life. Of course I would encourage anyone to take steps that seem attainable in their own lives towards a more cost- and energy-efficient lifestyle, but I do realize that it’s not always that feasible. That’s why I decided to capitalize on the time that I do have during my last semester in college.

I want to believe in what I’ll be teaching, and to live up to the standards and expectations I hold out big corporations that I criticize. Hence came the idea of low impact living. If only for a semester, I wanted to see what it was like. I wanted to see if it was doable, it if was comfortable, and if I learned anything about myself or where I wanted to take my career. If it worked, I could vouch for such a lifestyle to others who might be interested. If it didn’t, I’d sure have one hell of a story.

To be frank, I know I’m not making any kind of impact on the world in my efforts to live closer to the Earth, let alone on my local community. My reduction in fossil fuels for the next three months is not going to hinder the global increase in atmospheric carbon concentrations, nor will it prevent phenomena like glacial calving or ocean acidification. I was naïve enough to think that Dobie Gray was singing “give me the Beach Boys,” instead of “give me the beat boys,” in his song “Drift Away,” but I’m not naïve enough to believe that I, Kate Burgess, am going to save the world by living in a triangle for the next few months. Even if I did it for the rest of my life. It’s important for me to recognize that, and for me to also recognize that in a lot of ways, this project is self-indulgent, and that I need to remember to be humble about what nature can teach me. Of course I still dream of reversing some of the anthropogenic impact we’ve imposed on this planet, and I completely intend on doing everything I can to do my part, but I can’t get ahead of myself in thinking that I am holier than thou, or even that I could be relieved from my duties as an eco-minded citizen because of this tiny project.

In being humble, I also want to remember to be grateful and gracious, not just to the people who have helped me out, but to the land I’m on and to all who have walked before me. The other night, I misplaced the top half of my retainer (yeah, yeah, I still wear it), and I spent upwards of an hour scouring the ground in the dark, retracing my steps until I gave up. I was not ready to have to drop a couple hundred bucks to replace it (that’s equal to…let me do the math…carry the 4…a LOT of Ramen). But lo and behold! The next day, I step out of the tipi, the retainer is sitting right next to the door pole on the ground. Upon seeing it, I kid you not, I yelled out “THANK YOU GREAT SPIRITS,” and did a little jig.

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Tipi at Night (sans the raccoon that always tries to break in)

That night, when I was reading “Nature’s Way,” a book about native wisdom by a man who is a tribal member of the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota, I came across a part about being grateful to the ancestral spirits. Traditionally, upon receiving good news, he and his family would yell out “THANK YOU SPIRITS!” Dude knows what he’s talking about.

Oh I hear a Barred Owl as I type this! Neat.

Another idea I’ve been toying with is the idea of sustainability as a concept and what it really means. It’s an ambiguous term, and lately, after a few discussions in class, it’s become apparent that when using it, it’s unclear who’s doing the sustaining and what’s being sustained. It’s a sexy idea, one that’s easy to latch onto because of its prominence in marketing and media. I think it’s important, however, to dig deeper into the concept and discern a meaning that is both concise, and congruous to more distinguished ideas of environmental friendliness.

For my definition, I’ve boiled down a few core principles that I think may lend themselves well to living a lifestyle that is, in fact, sustainable (in the truest sense of the word), both in cost and efficiency of resources:

  1. Have an appreciation and respect for the land and impermanence of the resources on Earth
  2. Make informed choices about the products and services I purchase/engage in, considering their efficacy and economic value to all considered
  3. Act in ways that not only reflect a respect for the land/fauna, but in consideration of peoples’ safety and general happiness as well
  4. Be/get to be humble

I’m fortunate to have been able to have the time to think about this stuff, and I would love to have more topics to chew on, so any philosophical questions thrown my way would be gratefully received. This project has sparked a very interesting dialogue, and I’ve had so many good conversations with folks about cool initiatives they’re taking in their own lives as well. (Shout out to Dr. Reitsma who powers his car on Veggie Oil). Can’t wait to keep learning!

 

#TipiLife

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Where Will this IDS Capstone Take Me?

This semester is the semester to end all semesters (literally). I’m done in December, sadly punctuating the last 18 years of my formal education. It’s melancholic; on one side, I’m excited to get out into the world and apply what I’ve been learning, but on the other, I love formal education. I’ll certainly miss being in the classroom.

Because it’s my last semester, I need to make it count more than ever. That’s why, for my IDS Capstone, I want to commit to both a Research Article and a Project that are meaningful and induce growth.

For my Research Article, I’ve been bouncing around a lot of ideas that are reflective of the current jobs that I’ve been applying to. I figure researching and writing about something that I’ll be professionally engaged in, in less than 3 months, might give me a head start in the field. Here’s what I have so far:

  1. How effective is Wilderness Therapy?
  2. Sustainable Living: Is it just for the Affluent and Able?
  3. How can juveniles benefit from outdoor exposure?
  4. Is horticulture therapy/eco-therapy the best thing for preventing recidivism in prisons?
  5. Is the term ‘Sustainability’ still cutting it? Are we moving on to something less vague and more accessible?

For the first question, How effective is Wilderness Therapy?, that would combine the disciplines of Experiential Education, Adventure Education, Psychology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice. I think some of the biggest challenges in researching this will not only stem from the fact that I don’t have expertise in half of the aforementioned disciplines, but also from the fact that the field of Wilderness Therapy is still so underdeveloped. It’s a new idea, so I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to find that is accurate about it’s efficacy.

The second topic of Sustainable Living: Is it just for the Affluent and Able?, would definitely be a lot easier to research. It’s a hot topic, and there’s been tons of both scholarly and more informal articles written about the concept’s efficacy and attainability. My largest obstacle in researching this idea, however, might be the controversy behind it, and whether or not I’m even in a position to be making such claims. In terms of interdisciplinarity, this would combine the disciplines of Environmental Science, Sociology, Economics, and maybe even Environmental Education.

 The third idea about whether Juveniles can benefit from outdoor exposure almost seems like a gimmie. Of course they can. (To me at least). My downfall here might be in the overwhelming amount of resources, and being able to choose which ones are the most legitimate. I’d be researching prose from the disciplines of Adolescent Psychology, Environmental Education and Sociology.

The penultimate idea is: Is horticulture therapy/eco-therapy the best thing for preventing recidivism in prisons? This one, like the other ones revolving around Wilderness Therapy, would be challenging because I have limited experience researching the disciplines involved: Criminal Justice, Law, Environmental Education, and Sociology. However, it seems really neat and might involve a bit of interviewing and questioning from professionals in the field, which could prove interesting.

Lastly, Is the term ‘Sustainability’ still cutting it? Are we moving on to something less vague and more accessible?, could be really thought provoking as well. It’s a bit more abstract and academic, which totally could be useful later on when writing a thesis, but I think that could definitely be my biggest challenge. I don’t know that I’m deep enough into that world of academia to answer the question I’m posing here. Like the others, I’d be researching within the fields of Environmental Science, Economics, and Sociology.

 Overall, it seems like the two main ideas that I’ve divided into focused questions revolve around: Sustainability and Wilderness Therapy. These are two branches of my degree that I’ve really clung to the most, and are certainly progressive and promising fields.

Research Project

At this point, I’ve pretty much solidified that I’m going to document my tipi living as my final project. However, I’ll indulge, and list a few more that could’ve been/could still be interesting.

  1. Tipi Life
  2. Work with CADY
  3. Work with CALE
  4. Volunteer work with the Climate Reality Project – developing a grassroots campaign
  5. Volunteering at Elementary Schools to give talks about Environmental Issues

Let’s Dive in.

For the first idea of the Tipi, my biggest issue is that it’s too self-indulgent. The idea is to promote sustainable living, so I need to find a way to advertise it somehow to the public as a worthwhile (or near worthwhile) idea.

Working with CADY is new to me this semester, and I’m not exactly sure how much involvement I’m going to have. However, being on a restorative justice panel, talking about how to mentor youth first offenders, could be really meaningful. Another issue is that restorative justice and criminal justice are not really up my alley in terms of what I’ve already studied… It’s more of a developing interest and has no relation to environmental studies or education.

Working for/with CALE has already proven really worthwhile and meaningful. Through CALE, I’d be facilitating outdoor, goal-oriented and community building experiences for local students around Plymouth. One of the biggest problems is that it’s a paid position, however I think I could waive this and just do it for volunteering. Another issue is that it’s more focused on inter and intrapersonal skills, versus environmental education.

My volunteer work with the Climate Reality Project is also super worthwhile. It’s an NGO dedicated to spreading clean and renewable energy to campuses across the nation, and this semester, we’re working on petitioning for a new food service contract. It’s a practical application of my skills, and one of the most relatable project ideas in terms of what I’ve already studied. The downfall would be that I’ve already worked here before, and that I’m not sure what kind of time commitment I could give. Also, it’s collaborative and not individual.

Lastly, I could volunteer to give talks about environmental issues to elementary or middle schools nearby. This is probably the most obvious example of Environmental Education, but it’s not super engaging. I’d rather be bringing kids outside, but logistically speaking, that would be pretty challenging to coordinate.

I am excited to keep building on these ideas, and mainly the idea of the tipi, and see where they all can take me!

Tipi Life: Week 2

Over the last week, I celebrated multiple holidays. First, I had Opening Ceremonies for the Tipi, which included the lighting of a smudge stick, flute playing, and a reading from Chief Seattle’s 1854 address to Franklin Pierce. The next day was Hornet Victory Day (or HVD, as I’ll refer to it in subsequent blog posts), where the hornets were… “taken care of…” Alright, if you want to know the the truth, they were taken out Assassin’s Creed style, silently, one by one, until they were all gone. I imagine their dialogue went something like this:

“Wow, what a great day to be a hornet. Hornetio where you at? Hornetio? Wha..What’s going on? HORNE-

*Human hand placed over its mouth *

“Shhhh, just relax…”

* Kills hornet slowly with bandana*

Yeah, pretty violent, I know. But it had to be done.

Weather the Weather Whether the Weather Wants You to Weather the Weather or Not

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Drying everything out after it rained

After HVD was FLD, or Flood Losing Day. I guess this wasn’t so much of a celebratory holiday, but I do have a feeling I’ll be recognizing this one almost every time it rains. Basically, it rained all day, and my bed and a portion of my carpet was sOaKeD. After a bit of adjusting to the liners, ozan, and some help from Dad, I think we have it all taken care of.

I also had to tuck the ground tarp inside the liner so that the liner and canvas on the outside filter the water out and around the tipi, rather than inside it. Since it rained for the last few days, I usually came back to a little pool of water right by the door on the inside, but other than that, everything stayed dry. I also bought a fan to dry/air it out a bit to prevent black mold until the Sun comes back out and I can air it out naturally. Rain also brought more critters, as a couple of (baby) snakes found a home under my carpet. (They have since been evicted).

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Baby Snake (Perhaps an Eastern Worm Snake)

Cooking & Bathing (Not at the same time) So, Future Tipi Dwellers, one might wonder where the heck you’re supposed to cook and eat and shower while living in an XL Dunce Cap. I contemplated a couple options: using a two burner Coleman Stove, and keeping all my food in a cooler nearby, or using a community kitchen to cook and eat. I chose the latter. Not only was it easier to manage, I figured I might as well take advantage of the public space. Plus, I didn’t want to keep food near my tipi, because I didn’t want to attract bears. Although, I’d prefer a bear as a guest over worms or snakes any day (way cozier).

I buy most of my food at the grocery store, but thanks to Kurt who planted a 30×30’ garden in the Spring that I’ve since adopted, a lot of my fresh produce comes from there. The oven in the Community Kitchen is currently broken, but never fear, cold breakfasts, lunches, and dinners aren’t so bad. Neither is raw pasta.

As for bathing, I definitely don’t shower as often, which I know sounds gross, but part of my goal was to reduce my footprint, and for me, that totally includes reducing my amount of water usage too. There are lots of public showers around Plymouth, and I just bought a portable outdoor shower. If I really got stuck, I could just hop in a lake or river. Although, come December, I probably won’t be so eager.. But hey if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space, eh?

Thoughts on the Week:

Every day is certainly an adventure, and I’ve become HYPER aware of the weather, so I definitely feel closer to nature, which is awesome.  I’m curious to see what happens when it gets colder, though. I’ve had a lot of kind offers from friends and professors who are willing to let me sleep on their couch, but I’d really like to spend every night I can out there in the tipi. Plus, I just got approved (Thanks Dr. DeRosa) to make this adventure into my Capstone Project for my major, so it would totally insult the integrity of the whole thing if I was sleeping indoors when the going gets rough.

Until next time!

#TipiLife

Week 1

Day 1 in the Captain’s Journal

Set Up:

After 8 months of convincing my parents that I wasn’t going to freeze to death in the Winter (I’m still not convinced myself, sorry Ma), and a few weeks of planning, Ricky B (Dad) and I spent the better part of a day setting this bad boy up! Shout out to the Graff family and Vinnie Broderick from Camp Pasquaney for the SWEET location, my boy Kurt for helping me move in, and BIG thanks to Ricky B (Dad) for all of his crafty, birch log accessories and furniture, and for all the prep work while I was in NZ. People are awesome, man. Grateful for all the cool folks in my life.

Anyway, I got the tipi from Nomadic Tipi Makers out in Oregon, who sent me all the pieces, and not going to lie, I didn’t expect it to be as much work as it was! I mean how hard could putting a bunch of sticks together really be?

…Pretty hard actually…

But WORTH IT! This design is modeled after what the Lakota Sioux used to build, and because of the harsh conditions that would frequent that side of the country, there are heaps of extra steps that need to be taken during construction to ensure the prevention of wind, ice, snow, stingrays, and anything else that damage the tipi and ruin your day. Those steps include: reinforcing the poles’ unity by tying three ropes around the circumference at different heights, staking in the canvas all the way around, tying multiple liners to the inside, and nailing in small three inch “bridges” on the inside on the poles that filter rain water away from the floor and out towards the ground. There’s even an extra piece of canvas called an Ozan, which is essentially a drop ceiling for the back part of the tipi to keep the space warm and dry by shedding water behind the liner.

Although my tipi is a 12 footer, I could imagine the larger ones as being a great place to seek shelter from bad weather. With the prevailing winds predominantly coming in from the West, we put the door facing East (as per Native tradition), so that the gusts would hit the back of the tipi first and slow down as they went up and over the top. It’s also in a pretty exposed field, so the Sun does a great job of heating it up during the day, as well as letting in light.

Life in the Tipi (so far)

Night one was a success! It was decently warm, comfortable, and really cool to hear all the nocturnal animal activity outside throughout the night. I discovered that I have a Barred Owl as a neighbor, which is pretty neat. Maybe I’ll invite him/her over for coffee. (Or do they prefer tea?)

I’d say the only downside is the large hornet’s nest that accrued in my smoke flaps over the last couple of weeks while I was away. My plan is to try and negotiate with them first, but I have a feeling it’s not going to go so well, and I’ll have to end up using spray. I mean they’re not even paying rent.

Anyway, enough of the shenaniganry. I’m pysched to spend the next few months chillin’ in a very small upside down ice cream cone!

Stay tuned for updates

#tipilife

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Early Insights From the Land Down Under

Mom, if you’re reading this, the part about hitch hiking is totally made up, don’t worry!

(Yeah not really)

I’m standing in the salty breeze next to my bike on the Harbourside Path, and I’d be jumping for joy if my legs didn’t feel like they were on fire. Actually, on second thought, while the breeze would be salty if there were any, I realize that the taste of sodium in my mouth comes from the waterfall of sweat cascading down my face. I probably look like such a catch, I muse to myself. Yet my gargoyle-esque appearance is no weight on my shoulders, as I revel in the fact that after 6 hours of adventurous travel, I made it back to where I started early that morning.

Then I stop. How the HELL did I get back here?

After a bike ride, miles on my feet, a ride from some lovely ladies, some more miles on my feet, an impromptu bus ride ,more miles on my feet, even more miles on my feet, more-er miles on my feet, the kindness of three Scots driving me down the other side of a mountain, alas, MORE miles on my feet, and a ride from a nice man with a vape pen (no judgment), I made it back to the start. What I thought was going to be a small hike up a mountain, turned into be a 6 hour ordeal with the VERY little scroggin (trail mix) that I packed. *Here’s where you say: good plannin’ Katie B!*

So, as I rode back the short few miles back to my flat, I thought not about how tired I was, or how ridiculous I looked in my dollar store-wrap-around-wannabe-Lance-glasses, I thought about how journeys like that make you feel at the end. That got me thinking about how useful challenge can be for folks who are struggling, and THAT got me thinking about my career in wilderness therapy.
For those unfamiliar, wilderness/adventure therapy is an “active, experiential approach to group(and family) psychotherapy or counseling: – Utilizing an activity base, (cooperative group games, ropes courses, outdoor pursuits or wilderness expeditions) – employing real and or perceived (physical and psychological) risk” (Bradwoods.org). It’s an incredibly effective supplement to traditional, normative counseling.

My degree in Outdoor Environmental Education sets me up well for a job in this field, but it’s something that I hadn’t really considered until I arrived in New Zealand. Moving into a city, I began to realize how therapeutic nature was for me, and it brought me to a new understanding about how powerful the outdoors and challenge within them could really be.

Until this point, I was unsure about where I’d be heading after graduating in the Fall. Now that I had a good lead, I began to do some more independent research to ensure that this was really what I wanted to do.

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Mt McIntosh Loop, Glenorchy, NZ

I interviewed Scott Blair of Adventure Development, and learned about the high percentage of incarcerated men that were there due to alcohol related offenses. I quizzed Jeremy Bundett, a Dunedin probation officer, about his work with people who were struggling to stay out of jail and prison. I visited Alcoholics Anonymous classes in order to understand more about the diseases of alcoholism and addiction. I loved this continuous knowledge of people who were willing to share it; the more I learned, I more I formulated a plan and a vision.

I’m still going to continue my research while I’m down here, and of course when I return home as well. At the moment, though, I can happily say I have a good idea of where I want my life to go. I’d like to pursue a job in wilderness therapy after graduating, hopefully working with young people with substance abuse and mental health issues. I’d like for that to lead me towards a Master’s Degree in Educational Counseling or something of the sort. Then, I’d like to pursue a PhD, and go on to teach university courses at a prison, so that we are rehabilitating people who have offended, rather than just punishing them.

I’m looking forward to continuing my studies in the hopes of making these dreams a reality.

Works Cited

https://www.bradwoods.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Bradford-Woods-Adventure-Therapy-Overview.pdf

http://adventuredev.com/

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Teaching is Learning

Tomorrow, I dive into week three of my summer camp job. I’m a trip leader, and a camping instructor; I teach about knots, shelter making, stoves, leave no trace, cooking in the backcountry, wilderness first aid, and so on, and so on.

I came into the summer stoked on the idea of making lesson plans and carrying them out, as I had just finished a course in “Teaching Theories and Methods.” I was a teacher, after all. I was the authority, the adult full of knowledge.

However, I was humbled after day one. My teaching to learning ratio was largely off, and the scale tipped in favor of the latter. I struggled with this idea for several days, because I thought I was supposed to be the one imposing most of the information on the students, nFoto 7-7-16 07 38 50.jpgot the other way around. I spent so much time anxious and frustrated about the imbalance that I forgot to realize how beautiful the exchange was.

I soon began to welcome this trade. I started to understand that I couldn’t teach to my fullest if I wasn’t constantly learning – about my students, the topics I was teaching about, the landscape, and much more. Teaching needs to be a consistent dialogue, as opposed to a lecture.

As teachers, our students have so much to teach us, and we have a lot to learn beyond the material we cover in our lessons.

The photo above is one I took during a trip through the Carter Range in NH.

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