“Doing School Alone: A Conference Chronicling the Experience of Teaching and Leading in Isolation,” will be presented by the Gonzaga University School of Education on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 8-9, at Cataldo Hall on the Gonzaga campus.
Attendance and meals are free for participants thanks to generous support from the Braitmayer Foundation, Spokane Teachers Credit Union and the GU School of Education but participants are expected to provide their own lodging and transportation.
The days of a lone teacher in a one-room schoolhouse are long gone, yet the experience of isolation is real for many teachers and educational leaders today. Educators and their community partners are welcome to attend this conference that will explore the nature and impact of isolation through stories, reflection and analysis. Organizers hope the gathering will forge authentic connections between those who work in isolation and those who support them in larger communities and institutions. Conference themes will be framed and explored using data from the ongoing “Gathering Stories of Isolation” project.
The conference will focus not only on isolation through location and geography, but also isolation in the following respects: ideology, where a majority mindset keeps a practitioner from continuing educational thought and best practices; collegiality, where a shortage of colleagues or professional community leads to isolation; or resources, where scarcity provides only limited access to educational support, especially in staffing. Isolation also can be defined in terms of the feelings it produces, such as exhaustion and loneliness in professional life. These are symptoms of the isolation and markers of inaccessibility to personal and organizational renewal that might compensate, at least in part, for other types of isolation.
Samuel Intrator, Ph.D., professor of education at Smith College and author and editor of “Stories of the Courage to Teach: Honoring the Teacher’s Heart" and “Teaching with Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach” will lead the conference, drawing from his research into the personal and professional toll that a culture of isolation takes on teachers and school leaders. Intrator and others will host conversations in which participants explore impacts and potential mitigation of the adverse impacts of such isolation.
SCHEDULE: The Dec. 8 schedule includes registration from 9-10 a.m., conference from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., dinner 5-7 p.m., and a panel discussion 7-9 p.m. The schedule Dec. 9 includes breakfast at 8 a.m., conference from 9 to 11 a.m., and closing from 11 a.m.-noon.
For registration or more information, visit the Gonzaga’s Continuing Education Web site or contact Mike Poutiatine, Ph.D., via e-mail or at the Gonzaga School of Education at (509) 323-3513.