As captured in my last post, one of my primary goals for the semester is creating a network beyond my students' classroom walls with which they can share their work.
I began this goal at the semester beginning by emailing admissions' offices at Colorado schools with the hope that I could have those who actually look at college essays during the application process give my juniors' and seniors' college essays some feedback. The schools I emailed included University of Colorado, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State, and Denver University. I also emailed the admissions office at my alma matter, Trinity University in San Antonio, hoping I could guilt them in to helping me. I heard back from the office at T.U. and at U.N.C., and have two kind people willing to help me with my project.
I also emailed a contact at the Oxford English Dictionary online and the Hero Project, a foundation created by Philip Zimbardo, in the hopes that they would work with me on a couple other projects with my seniors. Alas, I have had no reply.
The most exciting contact I've made, however, is to the Salem Historical Society in Massachusetts. I contacted them in the hopes that I could get a foundation member to Skype with my Honors American Literature class about the history and myth of Salem as we read Miller's The Crucible. After speaking with someone who co-founded this organization, however, it is clear she would like to do more. She is hoping my students can work on a video project that would go on the foundation's opening page in the hopes of attracting a younger audience to join their society. Needless to say, my students are very excited about the idea. We are not quite sure how all of this will look, but will be back in the touch with the Society at September's end.
After just these beginning experiences developing my network, I feel fairly encouraged. Of course, it would be great if I had heard back from all these contacts. I can tell, though, that my students are already excited about having a bigger audience for their work and I learned that just taking the time to send a quick email doesn't take much time and might just pay dividends.