From Curriculum Network October 20, 1994
The 1994-95 Experiential Education program is set up in three phases throughout the school year and into the summer. Phase 1 ended on October 11. The following people hiked, biked, stretched their muscles and attitudes, some climbed tress and swam; all enjoyed the camaraderie of their colleagues. They are
Nikki MittsJackie Dallymeyer Jim EverettPat Murphy Lori SteinerMick Swanson Bill BooherNicole Haumann Janell ParkerKristin Kostka Susie BegnerRose Bantz Pam KnapickJanet Newton Connie TrettJoyce Richards Flo Morris Debi Fletenstein
Phase II is under way with seventeen people continuing with the program. This phase continues the physical activities, adding sailing, skiing, first air and CPR training, orienteering, and much more Team-building and problem solving tasks that can be used with the students that the team members are in contact with daily will be emphasized throughout Phase II. People participating during the coming months will “Pushing” themselves a little more with each activity. Phase II will continue until May 1, at which those individual that opt for Phase III will begin travel arrangement and special preparations for their summer adventure. Only those who have complete Phase II are eligible to participate in Phase III.
Team 2 members left Dunlap High School on July 23rd for their Montana
Experience. They were
Bill Collier Leader District #323 Superintendent Dan Roberts Dunlap Grade Principal Nikki MittsDistrict Pysychologist Jackie DallymeyerDunlap High School Lori SteinerDunlap High School Mick SwansonDunlap High School Bill BooherWilder-Waite Band Director Nicole NaumannBanner Elementary School Kristin KostkaBanner Elementary School Rose BantzWilder-Waite Primary School Janet NewtonWilder-Waite Primary School Debi FeltensteinDunlap Grade School Day 1Traveled from Dunlap to Vermillion, South Dakota Day 2Arrived at Big Timber, Montana Day 3 Hiked and established a camp Day 4Hiked and established a new camp Day 5Hike and established another camp Day 6Hiked and another new camp Day 7Hiked and (surprise) new camp Day 8Traveled to Gardiner, Wy for Whitewater experience And travel to Yellowstone Park Day 9Tour Yellowstone Park
Day 10 Travel to Hill City/Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Travel to Dunlap
Teachers of Experiential and Adventure Methodology
Northeastern Illinois University, College of Education, Chicago, Illinois
"I Sleep with My Teachers"
by Dr. William Collier
There is always a look of disbelief or even astonishment when I tell colleagues of just how many teachers I have slept with. My statement obviously catches their attention, offering me the opportunity to explain.
I am the Superintendent of Schools in a small to medium suburban-rural school district in the central part of Illinois. I take much pride in the fact that I have slept with over fifty of my subordinates, teachers and administrators. I must admit that such has taken place in rain drenched tent-cabins in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, in the open spaces of the Absaroka Wilderness area of Montana, under a tarp in the Rockies of Colorado and in a lean-to on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina. My companions have been both been males and females, young teachers with little experience as well as older staff with thirty years or more of experiences.
After thirty years in education, twenty-six of them in administration, I have just begun the process closing out a career in the same manner as it started - with unlimited enthusiasm and respect for the job and the people I work with. I am not a burned out educator who can't wait to leave, but rather one looking to offer colleagues new and exciting opportunities to grow personally and professionally. I am not a retiring educator who has seen too many changes but rather one who sees high quality teachers and administrators changing, adapting, modifying on a daily basis for the enhancement of their students. I am not a frustrated administrator who has been turned off by the actions of the teachers union, but rather one who is challenged in exciting and meaningful ways by teachers wanting to join together in order to offer kids the best possible education. I am a blessed educator who feels fortunate to play a part in the lives of my team members and hopefully students.
In 1992 I was sitting at my desk reading an article about becoming burnt out, about entering a mid-life crisis. The article indicated that if life was truly great (30 years of marriage to the same fantastic woman, three great kids, a great job, a good salary, etc., etc., etc.); but excitement was missing, a person should consider doing something hard, difficult, challenging, even somewhat scary. The idea was to add a level of excitement to one's life, to get the adrenaline flowing again.
A day or two later I read through some informational materials sent to me for students who struggle. I began reading about "Outward Bound". I am an ex-athlete of limited ability who visualized the game better than he played the game, so visualizing myself making a peak ascent while leading a group to the top of a 12,000 foot mountain through all kinds of hazards was not a difficult task for me. Accomplishing my visualization almost killed me.
My Outward Bound experience found me in the mountains of Montana where I whitewatered, rappelled, ascended and descended until I prayed for level ground. I accomplished goals that I never thought possible and returned to my home, my vocation rejuvenated, enthusiastic, excited about each day, looking forward to each day thereafter. Six years later that feeling is still with me.
I wanted to share my experience with others, not to brag about what I had accomplished but rather to challenge others to do the same. To my disbelief ten teachers and administrators caught on, took a chance, paid out some hard earned dollars and said yes, they would like to be Experiential Education Team #1. They went to Minnesota and experienced heavy rains for a week, mosquitoes the size of 747's, horse flies that a horse could ride on, soggy clothes, soggy food, soggy tents and soggy sleeping bags. It was a terrible trip, a terrible experience. But-when Team 1 returned they were a "team," very much bonded to each other. Today, five years later, Team 1 still meets for breakfast once a month while some members walk together three days a week. Their experiential education experience has enhanced their personal lives as well as their professional lives. They are exceptional teachers.
Five years later five teams have experienced life on the road, on the trail, in their own very special ways. Fifty teachers have taken a chance, expending much time and energy to experience life very differently than their classroom colleagues. Because of their time with each other, in locations such as Yellowstone, Estes and Nantahala, they have learned to try new things, fail and try again. Each has succeeded in their own very important ways and become better teachers by being better learners.
On our trips we have had the privilege to sit around an evening fire, or on a boulder at the side of a sky blue lake and talk. We have walked uphill for seven hours and down for seven more, all the time talking about ourselves, our families, our jobs, our delights, our frustrations, our aspirations. We have struggled with the high ropes challenges course, level five rapids and the complexities of using a compass to get from point A to point B. We have listened as we slowly [...]
Just think of what you are reading. A school superintendent experiencing such activities, such people, such emotions, everything out in the open, with his administrators and teachers. That simply is not done. But for whatever reason my district, my staff, myself have been offered the opportunity to experience our vocation in ways different from any other. I believe that experiential education teachers feel that I am a sincere and caring person with his own strengths and weaknesses and that I have gained much from our experience together. They know that they can come to m[e].
My respect for teachers has grown far more in depth and out into the open through my experiences with them. I have a better understanding of what it takes to be a "teacher," a "Master Teacher." I have learned just how much of their very being teachers give to their students and just how much they want them to succeed. I now see the smiles, feel the energy and in many cases experience the hugs that experiential education teamers bring to school each day. I simply love watching "teamers" work their wonders day in and day out, knowing that they are impacting others because they allowed themselves to be impacted by others. Life is good in our school district. The attitude of most "teamers" is simply unbelievable, so positive and progressive. They enter a child's world ready and willing to make his/her day worthwhile, meaningful and pleasing. Because of their unique experience, their "experiential" experience, they are the best of the best.
Take a chance, do something different, something difficult, something a little scary. Experience life at a proper depth and let the adrenaline flow. If you dare - sleep with your teachers. It will be an experience that will change your life.