A big thanks to Martha Dobson, the Target® Iditarod 2011 Teacher on the Trail™ for her energy, creativity, photography, expertise in literacy, and dedication throughout the 2010 – 2011 school year.
The Target® Iditarod Teacher on the Trail program was created in 1998 by Finney, (Andrea Auf der Hyde, Indiana.) Thus began the journey of a lifetime for educators who followed Finney’s lead, and through example, took the trail to helping educators around the world guide students to academic success.
Martha Dobson of Mount Pleasant, North Carolina is a lifelong North Carolinian, a sixth grade middle school teacher and the second North Carolina teacher to hold the Iditarod Teacher on the Trail position. Living all around North Carolina while growing up, she has resided in her small town near Charlotte, NC for 27 years with her husband, Allen, and three children, Robert, 25, Elizabeth, 22, and Sara, 18. Allen is a family physician. Robert and Elizabeth graduated college in the past year, and Sara begins her college career in the fall. A longtime Girl Scout , Martha has volunteered with her daughters’ troops since 1993 and worked as a freelance writer for a local newspaper.
A graduate of Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, Martha holds a bachelor of arts in psychology and a teaching certificate in elementary and middle grades education with concentrations in language arts and social studies. She enjoys horseback riding, being outdoors, travel, and reading. Her family has numerous cats and a rescued Siberian husky named Morgan.
Martha returned to the classroom at Mount Pleasant Middle School eight years ago to teach English/language arts. Immediately, she was drawn to the Iditarod by her prophetic choice of a Gary Paulsen novel to teach her students. In 2005, she traveled to the Iditarod race start to be an Idita-Rider in Phil Morgan’s sled, sure that she’d never have a chance to return to The Last Frontier. That experience was the “coolest thing” she’s ever done, she says, and the Iditarod bug bit her, hard. Now she’s been to four race starts, four Iditarod teachers’ conferences, and enjoyed a summer vacation.
Martha says that the Iditarod appeals to her sense of adventure and her appreciation of the unique and challenging event. Her students are intrigued by its uniqueness, too, and Martha has incorporated Iditarod in her classroom and school through lessons not only for her English classes, but classes in other grade levels and subject areas, including math, science, and technology.
As well as being a highly motivating teaching tool, Martha says the Iditarod and her efforts to become the Target® 2011 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ set the example of taking advantage of opportunities in life and perseverance. “I believe that you work hard, and get what you work hard for,” she says. Never dreaming that teaching would get her to Alaska, Martha believes it’s important for everyone to “go for it” in life, whatever their dream or opportunity might be.
Join Martha in her dream, crossing Alaska from Anchorage to Nome, bringing it to classrooms around the world through her lessons and messages posted here.
Target® is the official sponsor for Iditarod Teacher on the Trail.™ Please visit their website and learn about their dedication to education and communities. Discover information about grants and how Target® helps children, families, schools, and communities to be more successful.
Martha Dobson, an educator at Mount Pleasant Middle School, North Carolina, teaches sixth grade English and Language Arts. Martha’s prophetic choice of a Gary Paulsen novel to teach her students, led her to the Iditarod and a trip to Alaska. After experiencing the race as an IditaRider and attending an Iditarod Teacher Conference in Alaska, Martha discovered that the race seemed to spark an interest like none other in her students. “The challenge the race presents to mushers, dogs, students, and me is a metaphor for the challenges of life and life opportunities, a strong example of setting goals, determination, and perseverance to run one’s personal race.”
Beginning in June and throughout the next year, Martha will be creating standards aligned curriculum and developing an online journal at http://iditarodblogs.com/tott/. During the 2011 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Martha will be flying from checkpoint to checkpoint sharing her observations and lesson ideas via the internet to students and teachers in classrooms around the world.
The Iditarod Teacher on the TrailTM program began in 1999 with an inspirational idea and has grown into a nationally acclaimed and globally followed 21st century technology project. With the support of Target® this program is able to reach out to children around the United States and the world, bringing “The Last Great Race on Earth” a little closer to their imaginations in a real-time, research based project that inspires students to read, write, and solve problems using 21st century skills.
The Iditarod Trail Committee is proud to welcome Martha to this very elite group of educators from around the country. Martha will be sharing a preview of her Target® 2011 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ curriculum at the Summer Camp for Educators to be held in Wasilla, Alaska, June 20 – 28 and at the Iditarod Winter Conference for Teachers, March 1 – 4, 2011. Martha is the 13th Teacher on the Trail.