Teaching and travel are my two passions in life. A few years back, I discovered a way to travel and become a better teacher, for almost no cost! The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) offers free summer courses just for teachers around the United States and World. Even though the programs are free, the cost of travel would still prevent many teachers from participating, which is why the NEH offers a stipend to all teachers that complete the courses. The stipends (which are taxable income) range from $1200 for week-long courses, to $3,900 for five-week courses. Though you certainly won't make money earning an NEH Summer Program grant, you may be able to get pretty close to breaking even.
What to Expect
I participated in a short NEH program in April 2010 called American Visions: NEH Picturing America held at the Newark Museum. The program focused on how to use Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) in the classroom, and was taught by experts in the field. That program remains, hands down, the best training for education that I have ever attended. As a travel enthusiast, it was great to be in Newark, New Jersey because I took a few tris in Manhattan once our sessions for the day were over.
This June, I will again be participating in an NEH Summer Program. I will be traveling to Gettysburg Pennsylvania, to be participate in On Hallowed Ground: Gettysburg in History and Memory. The workshop will be taught by the faculty of Gettysburg College and will hopefully open new way for me to teach the Battle of Gettysburg to my students. I fill in details on this blog when I return.
How to Apply
Check out the NEH summer program website at http://www.neh.gov/divisions/education/summer-programs. The summer 2014 programs are closed for applications, but you'll get a good sense of the variety and scope of programs offered. Keep checking back in the fall or winter to see when the new programs are announced. You can apply for up to two programs, but may only participate in one. I applied for two programs this past year, and was lucky enough to be accepted to both. Applications are usually due in early March. My advice would be to find a program that fits your passions and interests in teaching, not the location of the program.
If you have participated in a NEH Program for Educators, I'd love to hear about your experience! In the comment section, please share your experience and any advice you have for teachers thinking about applying for a NEH grant!