Saturday, July 28, 2007

Learning on Location in Michigan and Illinois

I've been in Michigan for the past week taking a Principals' Workshop as I embark on a certification program for administration and leadership. My brother-in-law and my new vice principal were there as well, along with about 40 others. The workshop was held at my alma mater for my Masters degree, Andrews University. I was only on campus for two summers, though. The rest of my classwork I did off campus in a Literature-on-Location program (but that's another story for another day. Let's just say that I highly recommend learning such things as history, literature, art, and music in "on location" programs.).

Michigan is not my favorite place to spend the summer, but it has always served me well academically, and this week was no exception. We were in classes from 8 to 5 each day with an hour off for lunch. We learned about everything from Recruiting and Marketing to Team Building and Instructional Supervision. Some of the session leaders were good friends of mine from other workshops and classes, so it was fun to renew friendships.

Tuesday and Thursday we took field trips after our workshops were done, so we had long, full days, with or without the trips. Tuesday we went to Battle Creek, MI to see the Historic Adventist Village, a collection of homes and meetings houses brought from around the state that commemorate the beginnings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the work of John Harvey Kellogg in the field of health and medical reform.

Guides dressed in 19th century costume and acting in character regaled our group with the inspirational stories of the young men and women who introduced health and dress reform to the nation. I was amazed, for example, to see in the Kellogg museum exercise contraptions that strongly resemble the kind of machinery you find in 21st century fitness clubs such as Curves and the like. And yes, John Harvey is that Kellogg of Rice Krispies fame...and a shirt-tale relative of yours truly! It was an interesting evening at the very least.

Thursday, found us in Chicago spending 3 hours in the Museum of Science and Industry and another 3 hours at the Navy Pier. I'd been to the museum as a child and later as a first and second year teacher,'s been awhile. I enjoyed the exhibits, among them the story of the U-505, the first German submarine ever captured, and the only one on American soil. You can read about it here if things like that interest you. It's an incredible story.

The Navy Pier has a charm all its own with lots to do from shopping to cruising Lake Michigan to strolling along drinking in the sights and sounds of people (and birds) enjoying themselves. We saw a beautiful tall ship embark on a journey across the lake, unfurling its sails while we watched. As we were coming back, the sun was setting behind the Chicago skyline bringing the day to a peaceful close.

Getting to and from Andrews was a challenge, though. The flights I chose via Expedia were supposed to get me there with a minimum of time and frustration (4 hours max, door-to-door). Unlike my plans, the reality was that it took 12 hours to get there (with canceled flights, stand-by flights and hours of waiting) and 9 hours to get home (flight delays due to severe thunderstorms). I shouldn't complain about at least getting home, though, as my brother-in-law is still in Chicago and won't get home for another 5 hours or so (we has different flights...mine through Detroit, his through Chicago). I can laugh at it now, but it was a challenge to keep positive and pleasant. My saving grace was two books that I really wanted to read and therefore had the opportunity to do so.

The workshops themselves were useful, and it was nice to have the new VP there, too. We spent a lot of time talking about what we want to do with the coming year. Administration is not my first love, but I have to say that this got me excited about it for the first time, and helped me see what I can do to better nurture the teachers on our staff and help them be better as well. Now, to put it all into practice!

1 comment:

Inland Empire Girl said...

Because I was raised in Kellogg, Idaho people were always stopping in town to look for the cereal factory... no that is Battle Creek, Michigan we would say.