I have had a really amazing first semester at my new school. Even though I was a little petrified about teaching both seniors and a composition course over the summer (I was incredibly inexperienced with both), I found myself loving nearly every second of each day in class. Not only did I have to stretch beyond my comfort zone (which is more reading based) to teach writing, but I had to work pretty hard to ensure my students were getting the most out of the class as possible. It felt good to work hard. I absolutely adore my current students. They are the sweetest, most loving teenagers I have worked with in my 5 years of teaching. They have been so eager to learn and so comfortable talking with me and seeking advice, I just consider this to be a match made in education heaven (if a place were to exist..).
Realizing our time was coming to an end in December, they made a furtive request to attend a field trip as one last hoorah! together. Sure, I've taken many classes on field trips, but it was beyond me where we would go that was writing related and also cool. Writing isn't exactly fun to watch. So, I passed the baton to my students. What is a place that is writing and research based that would be cool to visit?
You know teenagers, for better or worse, they always have answers. One male student in my third mod class said, "hey, what about the Library of Congress?" I was instantly on board. Somehow it all worked out perfectly and we reserved a tour date for January 13th. As you know, Cory and I like to soak in as much of the metropolitan area as physically possible, but many of my students have only been to Washington, D.C. once or twice. I'm really hoping the more I expose them to it, the more that will change, considering it is only an hour away from where I teach.
We had a breezy, but wonderful January day. We left school promptly at 8:45 to ensure our arrival to Capitol Hill for our 11:00 A.M. Thomas Jefferson Building tour. I reserved our tour online and you can, too. It was fast and easy. The Library was readily accessible for me to email and call with last minute questions about what my students could an could not bring along with them. It was so easy to plan, I was astonished.
Here's a look at the first part of our tour!
The Library is actually comprised of three buildings, each dedicated to specific functions and facilities. It is the biggest library in the world as it contains both published material and maps, but also some fun memorabilia as well. For example, did you know that the $5 bill President Lincoln had in his pocket the night he was assassinated is kept at the Library of Congress? Nope. I didn't either.
After they split my students into two groups (thank goodness for parent chaperones!), my group began by touring the main floor of the building where a Gutenberg Bible is kept. They have very strict regulations as to what you can and cannot photograph, so I wasn't able to snap a shot of that; however, the architecture kept me fairly occupied. The best feature of our tour was that much of the building's structure and architecture was thoroughly explained. Many of the ceilings are covered in gorgeous Italian mosaics or hand painted murals. The colors were so rich.
After being in the main level for just a few minutes I was overcome with inspiration and clarity. It is such a beautiful structure.
I'll be back soon with the second half of the tour!
Have a great rest of your day! :)