photo of Anja Pfeffer

Hazen Teacher Introduces New Philosophy for Teaching and Learning

Updated September 8, 2022

Anja Pfeffer, a 2021 Rowland Fellow, is returning to Hazen. Thanks to the generous support of the Rowland Foundation, Ms. Pfeffer was able to spend her year-long sabbatical strengthening the pillars of Dare To Be Me (DTBM) as a pedagogical philosophy and practice as she immersed herself in its various modalities and networked with other visionary teachers across Vermont and beyond. Dare To Be Me nurtures a deep connection to place, to each other, and to people's full selves. Meant for students and educators alike, it fosters aliveness and an "I / We Can" attitude by getting outside, breathing fresh air and engaging hearts, bodies and minds through embodied and in-depth learning experiences. With a shift towards being versus doing, towards a caring relationship with the more-than-human world, and towards attunement and inter-connectedness as the foundation for communication, Ms. Pfeffer aims to help Hazen become a place where everyone feels truly heard and seen and where all can thrive.

This school year, Ms. Pfeffer (along with her assistant Solomon Lew-Raskin) will teach a DTBM high school class through which students can earn a PE and an English credit towards their graduation requirements. Aside from spending lots of active time outdoors, students in this class will read and discuss texts relevant to the core themes of DTBM, participate in courageous conversations about topics that matter to them, and write reflectively and creatively (including other forms of self-expression, such as art, music, poetry, etc.). They will foster their sense of self and their academic confidence by regularly sharing excerpts from their writing and receiving feedback and constructive criticism from peers, teachers, and community members.

Additionally, Ms. Pfeffer will teach an 8th grade Introduction to DTBM class and will be the co-teacher for an Integrated Math class with Mrs. Fox. For educators, she will offer a year-long DTBM professional development course through Castleton University.

Any OSSU teacher with a vision to transform the public education system is strongly encouraged to apply for a Rowland Fellowship and may contact Ms. Pfeffer at to learn more.