In February I had the privilege of travelling along with my five sisters to England and Scotland. We were visiting one of my sisters who is working with Mercy Ships in Newcastle, England. When I realised in our travels to Scotland I would not be far from Glasgow, I decided that it would be wonderful to visit Sallie Harkness and Steve Bell. I had met both Steve and Sallie years earlier while taking a Storyline Design Class in Portland, Oregon. They had both inspired me with their positive attitudes and insight into integrating this method into subject matter. I have been using the method for about 10 years now. It had been a few years since I had taken any Storyline classes and I wanted to visit with both Sallie and Steve and talk about education, Storyline, and the joys and struggles that we face in teaching today.
Our adventure in Glasgow began with Sallie meeting my sisters and me at an Underground Station in South Shields. We traveled just outside of Glasgow to Baljaffaray Primary School in Bearsden where we each spent the morning visiting different classes. The staff there was so welcoming! We enjoyed our time there immensely. It is always refreshing to step aside for a moment and become an observer in this process of education. I always enjoy sharing with other educators and seeing students at work in different settings. We found the students’ work to be engaging and their teachers doing a great job. Their openness and friendliness was evident. The head teacher, or principal as we say in the states, was a delight!
We left the school and headed to The Strathclyde University Ross Priory Club for lunch where we met Steve and two other colleagues who had just flown in from Iceland. My sisters and I loved the drive through the Scottish countryside. The Ross Priory Club on the banks of Loch Lomond was such an idyllic setting for our meal and Storyline conversation. Sitting around the table with friends, discussing education in both our countries, and sharing Storyline ideas with Steve and Sallie….I felt fortunate indeed.
I was reminded about the importance of staying current with the method. The importance of attending classes, Alumni Conferences (which we hold each summer in the states), and attending the Storyline Conference coming in the fall of 2006 to Glasgow. I find with today’s demanding schedules, and changing government expectations for education, that I can find myself just keeping up and soon my passion for what I do begins to wan. When I start to feel this, I know I need to take the time to refresh myself in the method. One of the best ways I know to do this is to get around other Storyline educators. The excitement and passion is contagious and before long I have a new vision and energy to bring to what I love to do…teach.
I am so grateful for the opportunity I had with Sallie and Steve in February. It was the infusion I needed! I am looking forward to attending the Alumni Conference which will be held in Bend, Oregon this summer. I am also making plans to attend the Storyline Conference in Glasgow in October 2006. I look forward to meeting educators from many countries and sharing and learning with them.
8th grade teacher Tumalo Community School Bend, Oregon USA