For Teachers

Content-based professional development

Lit & Ed

Lit & Ed, a facilitated reading and discussion group, is designed for professionals—teachers, educational technicians, administrators, guidance counselors, and other school staff—who work with students within a school setting. We meet five times during the school year to reflect on your work as educators through the lens of literature. This is not a class; there are no homework assignments other than reading the literature, and the expectation is to have rich discussions that connect participants to the experiences of their students and their colleagues in a supportive atmosphere.

Lit & Ed is based on the success of MHC’s Literature and Medicine, a nationally recognized reading and discussion group for healthcare professionals. Like Lit & Med, Lit & Ed seeks to support faculty and staff by providing the opportunity to consider their work through a variety of literature. Participants of Lit & Med have overwhelmingly reported increased job satisfaction, empathy, and improved professional relationships.

The goals of Lit & Ed are that participation will ultimately improve student experiences in schools by increasing the empathy, communication skills, relationships, cultural awareness, and job satisfaction of participating faculty and staff. We also hope that participants will gain a stronger sense of connection and community with colleagues, reducing feelings of isolation, burnout, and other factors that lead to attrition.

Contact Nicole Rancourt if you are interested in bringing Lit & Ed to your school.


MHC offers a number of public lectures and symposia which offer CEUs and/or clock hour certificates for Maine teachers. Scholarships for teachers (and their students) are often available.

Winter Weekend 

MHC’s annual Winter Weekend, a humanities seminar on a classic text, provides an opportunity for participants to explore, in a group setting, an important work of literature. Held at Bowdoin College in early March, the program begins with a Friday evening lecture and dinner (a gastronomic taste of the time and culture reflected in the chosen text). The group reconvenes Saturday morning to spend the day enjoying presentations by scholars on various aspects of the book, from cultural context, to critical analysis, to explorations of specific themes.

Maine National History Day

Maine National History Dayco-organized by the University of Maine and the Margaret Chase Smith Library, is an annual event for teachers and students in grades 6-12 that promotes critical thinking skills through project-based learning. Students choose a category–website, paper, exhibit, documentary film, or performance–and compete in a statewide event held at the University of Maine each spring. The top finishers in each category travel to Baltimore, MD for the national-level competition in the early summer.

MHC partners with Maine Historical Society in the fall term to offer a seminar based on the year’s History Day theme and methods for translating History Day into the classroom.

Maine Council for the Social Studies

MHC serves on the Board for the Maine Council for the Social Studies (MCSS), the Maine affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies. MCSS offers an annual statewide conference each year in November and will be rolling out regional professional development as well. MCSS is always looking for new members and particularly seeks teachers interested in professional leadership opportunities to serve on their Board.



  • “It really is quite impressive to listen to the points of view of different teachers and how they analyze books and the ideologies and methodologies that they use when learning, discussing and teaching new material. I really, truly, feel fortunate to have been able to attend these meetings with my fellow [participants] and to learn from them...being in these meetings has been invigorating for me personally, and the flow and ease in which our discussions take place is seamless and more than pleasant; they are family-like. The camaraderie and collegiality that we have with one another is like those that are studying together at a college or university, rather than people going to ‘meetings.’”

    -Teaching American History participant

  • “University study had not prepared me for the lonely and secluded side of teaching. Once in the classroom I spent the entire day behind closed doors with few opportunities to talk to other adults about my teaching or content. To make matters worse in small schools there was often no one else that taught the same content, no one with whom I could share my passion. On the rare occasions when professional development opportunities presented themselves the focus sessions were usually on pedagogy not content. [This program] has not only served as a vehicle by which I have been able to come in contact with other teachers that shared my passion for history, but it has as treated me as a scholar, not as someone who has to be told how to teach but as someone who knows their craft and is valued for that skill. I have returned to the role of historian and expanded my knowledge with a more mature and focused eye, that of the classroom teacher.”

    -Teaching American History participant

  • “This was a once-in-a-lifetime professional development experience. I gained a huge amount of knowledge that I will apply directly in my classroom.”

    -Borders and Borderlands participant

  • “The workshop exceeded my expectations. There was a very high level of academic rigor. There was a well rounded variety of speakers who made us think critically about different aspects of the topics.”

    -Borders and Borderlands participant

  • “…the voices from the characters in the books give me a constant reminder of the diversity of experience and needs for my students and colleagues and in a real sense this gives me permission to step back from hurried preconceptions and use more patience and kindness in dealing with some difficult situations.”

    -Literature & Education participant