Teacher retreats are brief vacations designed to bring teachers together away from the classroom. These retreats can range from weekends at a spa to camping trips, and are typically attended during holiday times. While at a retreat, the assembled teachers can participate in a range of activities designed to relax, improve professional standards or enable team-building.
Storytelling and Discussion
At a teacher’s retreat, participants will have many stories and examples that they can share with colleagues and professionals from other schools. The purpose of storytelling can simply be for entertainment; teachers might tell funny anecdotes, for example. Other storytelling sessions are intended to create discussion. Teachers can give examples of their best and worst teaching experiences, for example, or debate ways to deal with particularly tricky classroom situations. These sessions can be free-form or themed around certain aspects of teaching, such as classroom discipline or specific subjects.
Retreats can provide teachers with a wealth of ideas that they can take back with them to the classroom. Experienced teachers or experts from areas connected with the profession, such as school counselors, could give lectures or host seminars, which attendees can take notes on. An informal question-and-answer session can follow. A teacher might instead want to run an example lesson, using other participating professionals as her class for the day. This allows the teacher running the lesson to test strategies while the other teachers can remember how it feels to be on the other side of the classroom.
A murder mystery game will promote teamwork while giving teachers an opportunity to relax and enjoy acting as a different person for a while. The idea is that the game follows a story, with each participant taking on the role of a different character out to investigate a murder. The teacher who runs the game can purchase a published murder mystery scenario from a store or online or write one himself. These games encourage people who don’t usually talk to socialize and cooperate.
Study Classroom Texts
At the retreat, teachers can take advantage of the number of professionals gathered to hold in-depth seminars on particular texts used as part of the curriculum. This is especially useful if the teachers are from different schools but share the same curriculum. A group of English teachers, for example, could get together to examine a specific novel they’ll be giving lessons about, working out teaching strategies and identifying difficulties in the process.
Exercise and Relaxation
Sometimes teaching retreats can simply provide a relaxing break away from the stresses of the profession. Teacher groups on a retreat can book a yoga or dance teacher to instruct classes that will reduce stress and keep participants fit. If the group doesn’t want to hire an instructor, they can head out for a power walk or a jog, or even go on a hike if the local area is suitable.
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