Checking in with our Education Fellows
Mid-way through their year-long tenure at the Farm, we sat down with our post-graduate education fellows to hear about their experiences so far.
What’s been the most unexpected aspect of the fellowship?
Alice - How much I like doing animal chores! Just getting to know the animals, getting comfortable with them. It’s definitely made it easier for me to work with them with a group of students now. When I take students to meet the horses, I know the horses.
Lauren - Living at the Tracey House [on-farm residence]. I’d been living in Burlington and didn’t immediately have plans to move. But it’s been great to be immersed in a place that has such character and history. The rhythm of life is very different, and getting to live with Alice and Maisie and work together has been great. I wasn’t necessarily expecting it. And I’m very glad that I have it.
Maisie - What’s surprising to me is that there are still so many surprises! I was out with a trip the other day and we saw two foxes. It’s still the highlight of my week! I got to know this place pretty well in the summer, but I feel like I’m learning new lenses through which to look at this place. Now that we’ve done animal tracking in our Active in Winter field trip, I see animal tracks everywhere!
Have you changed at all since this fellowship?
Alice - That’s a really hard question to answer about yourself! I’ve learned a lot. Mostly by doing, getting thrown into field trips from the start, but also by observing the other educators. They’re a really wonderful team. Watching and learning from them has definitely changed the way I think about teaching and the way I teach.
Lauren - I’ve been able to see myself in so many different roles that I didn’t think I’d be in. “Sure, I can take a group of kids to learn at the Children’s Farmyard.” I never really thought I would be able to do that – especially with farm animals, because they weren’t part of my background. I have a new sense of adaptability and resiliency – learning about parts of the farm, and moving from program to program.
Maisie - I haven’t been here as long, so there’s been much less time for change, but I already feel myself getting a little bit more confident leading groups around the farm, and I feel like the physical spaces in which I feel comfortable teaching have expanded.
Has the fellowship influenced where you see yourself next?
Alice - Talking to the different educators and getting to see all the different paths that led them here has been really interesting. Everybody has such a different background, but they’re all here doing really awesome work. That’s definitely given me some ideas.
Lauren - As someone with a little bit more of a formal education background, this has definitely expanded my idea of what education is and can be. I definitely am exploring different approaches to outdoor education. And now I know what it feels like to work with a team of very excited, passionate, and supportive educators. I’ll have that in the back of my mind as I move on.
Maisie - It’s helped me think more about how to continue my life as an educator. I don’t have an education background, so it’s been nice to have people guide me. And the farm–and Vermont in general– has become such a home; I would love to keep teaching nearby in the future!
What are you most looking forward to in the second half of your fellowship?
Alice - Sugaring! I just spent the afternoon reading about sugaring. So I’m VERY excited about that.
Lauren - I’m curious to see how experiencing winter on the Farm will change how I approach spring when it rolls around. What will I then get to appreciate that maybe I haven’t experienced yet? I’m curious about how my perspective will change, being here over a period of time.
Maisie - Spring! It’s my favorite season. Just planting seeds in the ground is something that brings me a lot of joy. Seeing crocuses come out of the ground is one of my favorite things in the whole year. Spring here, especially. I’ve never been part of any lambing. And I can’t wait to be a part of it!
The Farm supports students and young professionals as they explore career paths in education, agriculture, or the environmental fields. Since 2018, 10 Postgraduate Education Fellows have stayed with us for six months to a year to immerse themselves in our education programs and practices (and just about any other experience on the Farm!). Their time here often shapes their future career choices in profound ways.