Monday, October 14, 2013

Why I Chose IslandWood ...

After just completing my first week of solo teaching, I know I made the right decision to come here to IslandWood. To be completely honest, the transition into graduate school has been challenging. Busy schedules, homework, very little free time... Moving to IslandWood has been an incredible lifestyle change for me, especially after spending the past year in Latin America where time moves quite a bit slower. Yet, after waving goodbye to my first round of students from the School Overnight Program on Thursday afternoon, I knew that my choice was worth it.

Since graduating college, I have been working with students through experiential education programming with a focus on global citizenship and community development. Most recently, I spent the past year working as an instructor for Where There Be Dragons, facilitating learning adventures for students across rural Latin America. It was abroad, spending time in and trekking through small agricultural communities, where I realized the incredible interconnectedness of human and ecological communities. I discovered the ripple effect of my actions as a North American and their full impact on my friends abroad. I learned to share these stories to inspire my students to take action.

 It was through this work that I realized I wanted to pursue education in the United States, to make these communities and connections come alive to students. I care passionately about empowering our youth with the skills they need to make a difference. I want them to explore the world around them and see wonder, inspiration, and solidarity. Working abroad helped me teach to those values. Every day my assumptions and worldviews were challenged and changed. When looking for a graduate school, I wanted to find a program that would support me in teaching this way.

I chose IslandWood because of the school’s emphasis on integrating stewardship and community into education, and in particular, environmental education. In the future, I believe that we must create a more holistic curriculum that focuses on empowering students to be community minded citizens and global activists. IslandWood’s unique vision stood out to me amongst the many M.Ed programs I was looking at. In fact, IslandWood’s way of doing things spoke to me so much that it ended up being the only graduate program I applied to. It seemed like my perfect program.

And now that I am here, I know that it is the perfect program for me. I look forward to sharing the delightful moments, the reflections, the wonder and inspiration, and the many challenges I will experience this year with you all. And please, feel free to ask questions in the comments if you would like to hear more about anything in particular or have questions about what we’re doing. I would love to hear from you! 




theresapple said...

Yay! We're so happy that you chose IslandWood's graduate program, Emy! IslandWood was the only graduate program I applied to as well, haha, and I can relate to how it was a culture shock since I had just moved back from living in Seoul for 3.5 years! I look forward to reading more of what you have to share!

Emma said...

Great writing Emy! Keep up all the hard work. It definitely IS worth it!