Bittersweet. One journey is at an end, but another journey is just beginning.
We spent last night in fellowship with the S/V Denis Sullivan crew, and gathered one last time this morning to reflect, share, laugh, cry, and to begin to evaluate this incredible shared experience. We enjoyed a slide show of everyone’s favorite pictures, along with a soundtrack of sea shanties (thanks, Joe!). We shared our action plans with each other, which is basically our plans for how we’re going to take what we’ve learned this week and begin to use our new-found skills and ideas with our students in our schools and communities. Not only will the mentor-mentee collaborations continue, but collaborations between students in different schools and towns will be a huge part of our work going forward. There will be some incredible learning opportunities taking place! We were also very moved by some of the reflections and thoughts that were shared today, and are extremely grateful for the insight, candor, and openness. We shared one final meal together, received some more awesome resources, and prepared to scatter to the four winds.
One of our participants noted that when you take a group of motivated teachers and put them in a shipboard setting exploring Lake Michigan and its coastal communities, you get a product that is much more than the sum of its parts. What we gained from this sailing experience is far more than a body of knowledge that could have just as easily been presented in a lecture hall. We made real connections to Lake Michigan and its communities. We sailed on this inland sea, rolled with its winds and waves on a ship, jumped in its waters, communicated with, and listened to people who work, live, and teach on this lake. Our connection to Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes is deeply emotional, and we can’t wait to put our passion to work in our science classes.
And equally important, we learned something about ourselves as educators. We were challenged in so many ways – physically, emotionally, and mentally, and in the end, succeeded through dedication and teamwork. With the support of brilliant leaders, nurturing experts, and an inspirationally awesome crew, we know we can achieve our goals, we know who to go to for support, we know how we will teach Great Lakes literacy in our schools.
We would like to thank the staffs of Minnesota and Wisconsin Sea Grants for this amazingly wonderful, truly life changing experience. Thank you Cindy, Anne, Marte, Titus, David, and Tori for coordinating and leading us during this incredible week. Thank you Captain Tiffany and crew for sharing your home with us, as well as showing patience, understanding and humor! You are all incredibly knowledgeable, skilled and excellent teachers as well. And finally, thanks to all of the wonderful educators that shared this adventure. You all were such an integral part of what made this week so incredibly special, and here’s to many more adventures to come!