Regional educators attend UT Martin summer colloquium

Fourteen teachers from across West Tennessee attended the 2019 Summer Colloquium for Teachers held June 24-28 by the University of Tennessee at Martin Honors Programs. Teachers from kindergarten through 12th-grade classrooms focused on “The ‘Odyssey,’ the ‘Aeneid’ and the inheritance of Homer and Virgil” during the weeklong professional development workshop.

This is the first colloquium UT Martin Honors Programs has hosted for area educators, and Dr. John Glass, director of UT Martin Honors Programs, intends for it to become an annual event to help university honors programs provide educational outreach for the region. The cooperation between UT Martin Honors Programs and the West Tennessee Writing Project allows regional educators to come together and discuss literature and world history as they relate to the more specific topics they teach in their classrooms each year.

“The best stories speak to me in different ways each time I read them, and sharing that experience with an excellent group of teachers has been the highlight of my summer on a professional level so far,” said Dr. David Carithers, chair of the UT Martin Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages and director of the West Tennessee Writing Project. “It was a refreshing change in our normal work schedules and definitely a new approach to professional development as we know it – to take time to read and discuss deeply these classic works that have withstood the test of time and still have so much to teach us today.”

“The colloquium was a wonderful week. I really enjoyed learning from the different people who came. It was great to get the different perspectives that came with the different backgrounds in the room, and I walked away feeling enriched and refreshed after the week of discussion,” said Kaitlyn Laubach, a first-year teacher at Savannah Christian Academy. Laubach graduated from UT Martin in 2018.

Other colloquium attendees include Shelia Rogers, retired from teaching in McKenzie; Ashley Meadows, of Westview High School in Martin; DesiRee Ewer, of Bolivar Central High School in Bolivar; Marion Fryer, of Oak Elementary School in Cordova; Ellen Nance, of St. Paul

Catholic School in Memphis; Jonathan Patel, of Chester County High School in Henderson; Anita Medford and Lora Blankenship, both of Ripley Elementary School in Ripley; Doug Billings, of Ripley Middle School in Ripley; Corrine Landry, of Crestview Middle School in Covington; Hollye Sims, of Bradford Elementary School in Bradford; and Emma Massey and Shanna Watkins, both of Inman Middle School in Paris.

For more information on upcoming professional development events hosted by UT Martin Honors Programs, contact Dr. John Glass, director, at 731-881-7436 or