Have you ever been on the Hulk Ride at the Universal Studios? The three-week intensive STARTALK program at UVA was like the most epic roller coaster I could have ever experienced. It took me to the ultimate peak so I knew how much higher beyond my expectations I could achieve with my students, and it dropped me down to the bottom so I realized how much I needed to work on. The rigorous curriculum was designed to touch all the weak points that we, novice or experienced teachers, might have, and provide a direction for constructive and doable ways to improve.
Beyond the professional aspects, there was an elevation that came from the themes of passion and compassion; it was very uplifting. On the third day, we once asked each other if we could be like the phoenix risen from the ashes in three weeks. Well, the answer is a loud yes.