Punahou Poll: Teachers, How Did You Get Ready for the Year?

With everyone hitting their stride for the new school year, we asked teachers how they spent their summers preparing. Whether it be taking time to recharge or taking advantage of the time to gain professional development experiences, here's what Punahou faculty had to say about their summers.

"Spending three weeks sleeping in a tent while road-tripping and backpacking around Alaska was a great way to unplug myself from the technological world so I could be truly present in the real world.

"My friend Dan and I (and his dog Yosemite) traveled with no real plan or itinerary. This freedom allowed us to do what we wanted exactly when we wanted to do it. It also let us take full advantage of the wilderness and natural beauty Alaska is known for.

"For part of the trip we were dropped off by a bush plane in the middle of Wrangell St. Elias National park. Alone and left to fend for ourselves, we didn't see or hear another human until the plane picked us up a week later! The picture is the view from our campsite. An epic adventure on so many levels!" said Joshua Lawrence, Academy science faculty.

"I was so honored to be invited to be Chaplain of the Week at Chautauqua Institute (a center for arts, education, recreation and religion in upstate New York), for the week in July themed The Art of Play! Here I am with the Rev. Dr. David Emmanuel Goatley of Duke Divinity School and The Rt. Rev. Bishop V. Gene Robinson. It was amazing and inspiring. I have lots of stories to tell!" said Chaplain Lauren Medeiros.

"Junior School music faculty Alec Briguglio, Karen Drozd, Marlene Patton and I did two weeks of coursework in world music. We attended the Silkroads Global Musicianship Project in Greencastle, Indiana, followed by the Smithsonian Certification in World Music in St. Paul, Minnesota," shared Amanda Lippert, K – 1 music teacher.

In June, Chaplain Lauren Medeiros, Paula Arias, department head for languages, and Molly Takagi, social, emotional and ethical learning faculty fellow, spent time at the Stanley H. King Institute of Counseling in North Andover, Massachusetts, which offers a model of teaching counseling and listening skills to teachers and advisors. Social, emotional and ethical learning (SEEL) is related to gaining the skills necessary to manage emotions, set goals, feel empathy, maintain relationships and make decisions. Previously thought of as "soft skills," social and emotional lessons are being brought into the instructional core in order to provide psychological and emotional support in addition to academic support.

"I took six juniors and two seniors to the National Speech and Debate Tournament held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from June 18 – 22," shared Carol Halbur, Academy mathematics faculty. "Thousands of students competed in 15 different categories held in five different school locations in order to get enough classroom space to hold them all.

"Punahou students competed against approximately 250 other students in their respective categories. Emily '18 (Humorous Interpretation) and Christina '18 (Dramatic Interpretation) made it to the top 60 students in their categories. While not advancing out of preliminary rounds, Christina '19 (Congressional Debate House), Zoe '19 (Lincoln-Douglas Debate), Bennet '19 and Carl '19 (Policy Debate) and Matthew '19 and Cole '19 (Policy Debate) still made a lot of personal connections, learned a lot through competition of how other states debate, and gained experience that should help them this year in local competitions."