After more than a decade of teaching, I find it increasingly difficult to decide how to spend my time in order to invest in being a better educator.
Completing my Masters degree, attending interesting PD, writing this blog (!) https://ateacherislikeacandle.wordpress.com/2020/08/02/why-this-candle-blogs/ are all adequate ideas, but I think, more than anything, the key to being a good teacher- a candle that can light the way for others- is to travel.
Why travel? Because you can’t really understand the world until you get out there and experience it. And you have no chance of truly understanding the people in the world unless you feel firsthand what their lives are like at home.
Why is it necessary to understand people? Because it is your job to shape people, and you want them to turn out well.
I admit that I may be a bit biased about this topic. I was raised a RAAF brat who traveled to, and lived on, many bases as a kid- including overseas. I was an exchange student in high school and I know for certain that it was a formative experience that has made me, perhaps more than anything else, who I am today.
But bias aside, travel has the potential to change every one of us.
How can you teach about History until you’ve walked the ruins of Pompei, climbed inside the Pyramids at Giza, hiked to Machu Picchu, or viewed Angkor Wat?
How can you teach Geography if you’ve never cruised the Nile or felt the mist on your face from the powerfully majestic Iguazu Falls?
How can you teach sustainability without first seeing the majestic animals of the African Masai Mara or seen the Earth from up high on a hot air balloon over the Valley of the Kings?
How can you train others in conflict resolution skills if you have never crawled through the Cù Chi tunnels at Ho Chi Minh, nor counted the skulls at the killing fields in Cambodia?
How can an English teacher assign “The Boy in the striped pyjamas” as compulsory reading without having seen the concentration camps at Auschwitz? Or “The Diary of Anne Frank” without walking through the doors of Anne Frank House in Amsterdam?
How can you teach business studies without going to Wall Street? Arts without visiting the Louvre? Any language without hearing someone use it as their native tongue?
And how can you know what kind of people you are trying to mould, inspire, nurture and send out into the world if the only kind of people you’ve ever dealt with are those of your own culture and community?
Once borders reopen and airlines get back into their usual routines, get out there and explore the world. It’ll open your eyes. And make you a better teacher.
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