Day 1 – Washington and Civics

I arrived at Washington’s Reagan Airport in the late morning on Sunday.  While it was late morning Washington D.C., my morning began long before in the wee hours of the morning as DFW Airport.  I’ve never been happier to be out of a less than three hour flight.  I gathered my bags, checked the my information, and called my ride to Mt. Vernon.  The rubber met the road, as they say, at that moment.  My five days in residence at Mt. Vernon is beginning.

I found my ride at the curb and was joined by another participant for the week.  We were a part of a group of educators invited to Mt. Vernon to learn more about George Washington and stay on the grounds of his estate.  Along the ride we had some light chatting about the area with our volunteer driver and I enjoyed watching the Virginia colonial houses and the Potomac River fly by.

When we arrived, I found my way to my room and prepared myself for our opening session.  To be completely honest, I was whipped from travel but also extremely excited at the prospects for the week.  We had a brief session setting up the goals for the weekend and introducing people who would be helping out for the weekend.  After lunch, we listened to a lecture about George Washington about Washington as a citizen and how he viewed citizenship.  The lecturer, Lorri Glover, was eloquent and spoke directly to the heart of Washington’s beliefs about citizenship.  Following this lecture, we headed to the museum on Mt. Vernon’s property and had some time to look around and see all the wonderful artifacts on hand.

After the museum, we headed to the Mt. Vernon Inn Restaurant.  It was closed at this point, so we got to enjoy a quiet dinner where we played George Washington trivia.  While my team came in second that night, we all felt like winners as we headed to the estate on Mt. Vernon for a private, evening tour.  Our tour guide was extraordinary and we got to see all the rooms of the estate including the third floor as well as the basement.  It was a really great day, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I understood from the moment we introduced ourselves that I was the junior educator here.  Most of the teachers were in their twentieth or more year of teaching, and I am not even close.  I think that’s why I’m most appreciative of this experience.  Most of the time the teachers I’m with already know much of what is being said, but I’m learning a ton.  I feel like I’m hanging on every word that’s said.  I can’t wait to use these new perspectives in the classroom next year when we’re covering the life and times of George Washington.

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