Plus Size Teacher Goes Hiking
Hi, I’m Mellie and I love adventure, new experiences and I enjoy challenging myself. More than that I love challenging people’s assumptions about me and my abilities. The title of this blog post seems like it could be the title for a “funny” viral video where you see the mentioned teacher struggling to make it. My goal is to change that conception. I have been blogging about plus size fashion and New York City living for a while now, but I’m about so much more.
As I have been sharing with friends and colleagues about this trip to Mesa Verde and Great Sand Dunes, I can hardly mask the huge grin on my face. Don’t get me wrong, I am a bit nervous about what physical challenges I will face never having gone hiking before. I imagine myself tumbling head over heels and kicking up sand as I go sand sledding for the first time ever. WIPEOUT! But these fears are what push me to do said activities. These fears are the reason I applied to participate in the Find Your Park Expedition program. I have never been to Colorado, so why not?! I very seldom say no when it comes to traveling and exploring.
The “unknown” is what I live for.
That sense of adventure is probably why I made the decision to become a teacher. There are few things that are more unpredictable than standing in front of a classroom of 30 students with a “plan.” I love teaching, but more than that, I love learning.
I have worked with elementary, middle and high school students and I can say that I have learned so much from them. That is the important part of being a teacher, the learning, the growing, being flexible. While at Mesa Verde, I will be telecommuting with my school, sharing images of my adventure and asking questions of the park rangers in relation to Anasazi people that occupied the cliff dwellings. There is value in making textbook history come alive for students. Of course my students can read about Native people in a textbook, but how much richer would it be to see video of your teacher climbing into a cliff dwelling and having Q & A’s with park rangers responding via video. Of course, I would love to have my students there with me….but don’t worry, I’m working on it!
For parents and caregivers, these are experiences you can share with your children and family, especially if you are in a big city. Visit national parks, visit museums, look at artifacts, bring history alive, make it real. There are 408 national parks in the National Park System, including historical, cultural, natural and urban places. And, there are National Park Service programs that protect and preserve our collective heritage in communities nationwide. Imagine all the opportunities for learning that you can share. Simply exploring different types of trees and leaf shapes is a great lesson in natural sciences.
“What differences do you see in the trees?”
“How many different leaf shapes can you find?”
“Do they feel different? Are some waxy? Why do you think they are?”
“Do the leaves have lines? Do they look like veins? What do veins do? Do the ‘lines” in the leaves do something similar?”
Simple questions create a dialogue and make learning fun and hands-on. Of course this is just a simple example, but there are so many more that could come up.
So while the title of this post may seem funny or comical, it speaks to adventure, the unknown and challenging not only myself, but preconceived notions. I’ll be sharing all of my experiences online using #FYPx, so I hope you’ll join me on my adventure and watch this plus size teacher go hiking!
Photo credits: Mellie Davis