Dawn Fable began teaching at Brebeuf Jesuit just this past fall. She has quickly become a favorite teacher to many students due in large part to her genuine passion for education that can be sensed in the first five minutes talking with her.

While new to Brebeuf, Dawn is a veteran teacher having spent ten years at Avon High School, followed by three at Cathedral. As many long-time teachers can attest, it can be difficult to maintain a level of energy, as well as the “new-ness” that once existed in a classroom as an beginning teacher. Each year, the Lilly Endowment seeks to remedy this by offering teachers the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program. The program is committed to recognize, re-energize and support Indiana educators in the public, private and parochial sectors. By being awarded a grant from this program, teachers are able to pursue their dreams and passions, explore areas that interest them and pertain to their classroom, and expand and develop existing talents and new skills.

Dawn recently learned that she had been awarded a fellowship with this prestigious program for next summer. We sat down with Dawn to learn a bit about how she plans to use this grant to grow personally and professionally, as well as what her experience at Brebeuf has been thus far.

You were recently awarded a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Grant. Tell us a bit about the grant, as well as the process you went through to apply, and eventually be awarded, this grant.

My grant proposal is titled “Mystery Lover’s U.K.: Studying Forensics in the Land of the British Detective Novel,” and I am so excited to spend most of next summer in London! For the grant, public and private school teachers and administrators were asked to propose a project that would be personally fulfilling and re-energize us and our work in the classroom. Requirements included the rationale for the project, the planned goals and activities, how it would inspire creativity and renewal, and a detailed budget. The foundation said 400 teachers applied, and 100 teachers received grants.

What all does this grant afford you to do?

I’ll use the $12,000 to take my first ever trip to England. It will allow me to travel, study, and gain new ideas for my teaching of British literature in Junior English. I’ll be able to take a class at Kings College London and also visit Scotland.

Where do you plan to go, and what do you plan to study through this grant?

I’ll be studying forensic science and crime scene investigation at Kings College, as well as travel to sites important in the lives and works of authors Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Colin Dexter. I’ll be living in London and then taking short trips to Bath, Edinburgh, and Oxford.

How do you hope your time in London impacts you as an educator, as well as your classroom next year and beyond?

In my proposal, I mentioned how important travel should be for teachers of literature. I said this trip would mean I could bettershare insights about the culture(s) of Great Britain and the beauty and intrigue of the British detective novel with my students. Sherry Annee (Brebeuf science teacher) and I are discussing combining forces to create a more scientific study of literature and more literary study of science.

You are in the middle of your first year at Brebeuf Jesuit. How has the year gone so far and what has surprised you about Brebeuf?

It has been such a great year already. I love teaching British Lit and AP Language and Composition. While it has not surprised me that students and staff at Brebeuf have been incredibly kind, helpful, and hard-working, it did surprise me how at home I felt almost immediately. After ten years at Avon High School and three at Cathedral, I was a little nervous about starting over at a new school. I am so thankful to be a part of this community.

Tell us a favorite memory or moment from your first year at Brebeuf.

A moment I will never forget is a performance during Homecoming Week that included several students from my Brit Lit classes. When Livingston Benjamin did the splits during the lip sync battle, it brought the house down! I might be a little biased since I teach all junior classes, but they killed it in the school spirit competition!