Why am I doing this program? What do I hope to get out of it?
So goes my first assignment from Alecia, to get the ball rolling on channeling the goals for my program this year. Here is my response. And though I will definitely be working with Soledad in Cusco, Peru, let me know if you have any other ideas of other projects to help in this realm!
"Personally, I feel strongly about the value of globally-connected and globally-relevant learning. My family chose to live overseas for six years while I was in middle school and high school. When I think about the concerns we shared before we left rural Indiana for Tokyo, Japan, we were mostly concerned about barriers to feeling comfortable- how would we be able to live our lives, go to school, play sports, if we didn’t speak the language? Luckily, we were able to attend an English-speaking American school, so the barrier to ‘friends’ and ‘school’ was somewhat taken care of. But in terms of truly understanding and falling into the culture, we needed to spend some time learning the language, learning customs, and in native settings. It was a powerful and interesting experience, and one that left me most with a desire to keep a global perspective on any issue once I moved back to the States. So far, this has been easy for me. But it has not always been easy for everyone else I’ve met in the last seven years living here.
In my Environmental Science class, students need to recognize that environmental problems here in our city, state, country are not our own, alone. Any environmental problem always involves a larger geographic area than map borders will allow. Additionally, even if we don’t have a specific problem in our area, it is happening somewhere else. Take severe starvation and poverty. While this is a local issue, it is mostly more of a global issue, threatening the lives of a majority of citizens of several countries (specifically in Africa) every day. Primarily, I hope for my students that connecting with another classroom, in another geographic area, presents a personal connection to a peer with a problem that was once impersonal, but can become personal.
For my own development, I hope to really master the tools available to make this connection. I am not afraid of technology and am mostly comfortable “messing around” with it. But I want to learn and discover the best way to connect with these students to really foster that peer-to-peer interaction. So my main goal is to grow my skill base in creating connections with other teachers in other areas. Of course I also want to learn and understand the Peruvian culture and perspective on our global issues. I am really excited to gain this perspective."