LIHUE — Kauai High School English teacher Erin Medeiros has earned a spot as the only Kauai representative on the Merwin Creative Teachers Fellowship. The innovative partnership between nonprofit and public school teachers focuses on creativity in all classrooms.
“The fellowship came out of a conversation about and with former U.S. poet laureate and 90-year-old Maui resident W.S. Merwin and his life’s work and core values of attention and imagination, from which spring observation, creativity and empathy,” Medeiros said.
For the pilot year of this program, The Merwin Conservancy’s Education Programs Committee selected a cohort of talented Hawaii teachers from public and private schools, who teach students between the age of 10 and 15, to be part of a professional development opportunity on Maui and on the grounds of W.S. Merwin’s residence.
“Although the Merwin Conservancy has always had education as part of its mission, there are challenges to bringing students to the Merwin Garden site on Maui, so this fellowship is a new way to engage teachers and students with the garden and Merwin’s living legacy,” Medeiros said. “The fellowship was developed for teachers across the state … and intends to address their social and emotional learning (SEL) needs.”
The fellowship offers teachers guidance and support.
“Teachers will meet this summer for five days, then twice over the next school year, and each will create and publish a lesson that integrates SEL, poetry or language, and ideally place- based experiences,” Medeiros said. “The fellowship will also be facilitated by former Chancellor Academy of American Poets, award-winning writer and teacher Naomi Shihab Nye, one of my favorite poets and inspirations!”