After four decades of teaching piano and two decades as mom and home education facilitator, an exceptional opportunity has come my way! I have been offered a place in the House of Humane Letters Fellowship Program. In short, this new fellowship program will train me in literary analysis and teaching literature.
I’ve been taking year-long classes, summer classes, conferences, and various webinars with House of Human Letters (HHL) for the past few years. As I related in my recent interview with The Literary Life Podcast, my interest in story has been life-long, but these recent years have brought a renewal—a fuller understanding and a wish to take a “deeper dive”, especially into reading metaphorically and identifying the images and motifs that go back to the Beginning….literally. My two teachers in the Fellowship, Angelina Stanford and Kelly Cumbee, are the brightest and humblest living literary teachers that I know, and I am honored, humbled, and thrilled beyond measure to be learning from them.
What it entails.
The one-year Fellowship will begin with an in-person retreat in North Carolina, in which we get to know each other better and begin our readings in literary analysis. After that we will have weekly online instruction time where we will discuss our reading assignments, receive instruction on analysis and teaching, and have opportunity to demonstrate teaching. Outside of the weekly meetings, I will be spending time reading the assigned books and preparing any lessons that I have been assigned. I anticipate there will also be invaluable daily chatting online with my fellow students about the material. One of the goals and blessings of the Fellowship is the camaraderie that is already there with some of my fellow students and will continue to grow as we learn to read and to teach together.
How you can help.
- General encouragement, including listening to me go on and on about the things that I am learning. Please read and comment on my social media and blog posts about what I am reading and learning along the way.
- Enrollment. If you are local and have young children, please enroll your children in my Story, Rhyme & Song class, currently slated for Fall 2022. Tuition from this can help offset my expenses, and it encourages my soul to share story and song with your children.
- Financial Support. Perhaps you’re in a spot to donate. I’ve been able to pay for my own HHL classes through passive income ideas these past two years, but the tuition for the Fellowship will be three times as much as those classes! It’s a higher level of learning and the class size is much smaller, allowing for more individual training so as to prepare the participants to be professional literature teachers. Along with the tuition (due by the end of July), I will have expenses for a flight and housing for our in-person retreat in North Carolina to kick off the year at the end of July. Once all this is paid, I will have no further direct expenses except for the necessary books (that I don’t happen to own already). I will, however, lose some prime time hours in my piano studio, due to class and study time, and will need to recover that lost income somehow to keep the bills paid.
If you would like to help me with a donation of any amount, you may send via PayPal, using the email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to donate in another form than PayPal, please contact me to arrange that.
Update 6/9/22: A very generous donation has been made toward my tuition by a friend. I have booked my flight to our in-person retreat at the end of July, the cost of which was covered by the credit from my covid-canceled 2020 trip to Ambleside, England. I still need to pay for my housing and other expenses while in NC (5 nights) and the remaining balance ($1,000) of my tuition by the end of July.
Update 7/21/22: All of my tuition has been covered by donations from family and friends, along with a balance towards my housing and other expenses while at the retreat. If you would like to contribute to help with my remaining expenses, I will gladly accept those.
What’s in it for you?
Well, first, there’s the obvious: In the Fellowship, I’ll become an excellent analyst and teacher of literature, so I’ll be able to help others enrich their lives with literature. But really, the point of it all—the why that drives me, and that will have its chance to inspire my students—is this:
As we learn more about story, we become better humans. (This is why House of Humane Letters chose that name.) The payoff for my friends who donate, then, is that this will make me a better friend. For my fellow choir members, I will become a better part of the team and a better singer. For my piano students, I will become a better teacher.
There is enhancement to all areas of my life when I gain new understanding about the treasures of story, metaphor, and imagery that exist in our Creator’s world. I hope to become a regular teacher of story and of how to read literature, and perhaps some of you or your children will be my students. I hope to inspire people to love and understand story more. I truly believe, as Angelina says, that “stories will save the world” , and as Stratford Caldecott says, “To be enchanted by story is to have a deeper insight into reality.”
Please join me in this enchantment.