If you’re familiar with this site, you know that I typically post about my life as a doctoral candidate or my life as a teacher, contemplating the Common Core. Recently, however, I have added tabs on Global Competencies, with examples provided for each of my educational adventures overseas.This is directly due to my involvement with the U.S. Department of State’s Teachers for Global Classroom Program.
I was notified Spring 2012 that I had been selected for the TGC program. But that was about the only thing I knew. Other basic facts I knew included the following: About 70 other teachers from across the nation had been selected. We would be sent to one of seven different nations for a period of two to three weeks: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, or Ghana. We would not be given a choice.
In Fall 2012, in preparation for our international adventures, we participated in an online course that provided readings, video clips, and discussion forums around the topic of Global Competencies and Global Citizenship. We were required to submit a unit plan. We received a Bloggie so that we could video our adventures within whatever country we found ourselves. As with any course, there were texts that I deeply enjoyed, other texts that contained both pieces in which I found commonalities and pieces in which I took issue, and texts that I vehemently disagree with. As an actively engaged citizen, I voraciously gobbled up these various texts, engaging with their tenets, critically assessing them, weighing them against one another — weighing them against my own guiding principles. Evidently, there are multiple definitions of global citizenship, some of which are diametrically opposed to my own personal beliefs.
And, finally, we were assigned our country. I received news — on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 — that I was headed for Kazakhstan! To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even know where Kazakhstan was. I knew the vague, general direction. But I didn’t know that it touched Mongolia, that it was 90% in Asia and 10% in Europe, that it was the 9th largest country in the world.
There is much that I still do not know. But I do know that I will spend a couple of days in Almaty, cultural capital of the country, before heading off to spend an entire week with a school and a wonderful host teacher in Ust-Kamenogorsk. I do know that I’ll be accompanied by a phenomenal gifted & talented teacher from Virginia named Rob. I do know that I get to engage with students and share the culture and people of Idaho. I do know that I’ll be able to provide professional development for the teachers. I do know that I’ll learn much from those teachers and those students. I do know that I’ll be bringing back a bit of the culture and the teachers and the students to our schools here in Idaho. And that, my friends, is exciting.
So, if you’re a secondary teacher and you, too, would like to explore the education system in another country and help your students engage with students in another part of the globe — then explore the Teachers for Global Classrooms website. Apply. If you’re like me, you might be a finalist but not make the final cut. Apply again. I did. And this time, I am headed for Kazakhstan.