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Stories from the Field

California Casualty Awardees Carissa Richardson Lahrman: Expanding the Classroom

Great educators have great stories. This series gives a glimpse of the ideas, practices, and experiences of the recipients of the NEA Foundation’s California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence. Today, we’re sharing the words of Carissa Richardson Lahrman, a science and technology educator at Towles New Tech Middle School in Fort Wayne, IN. 

One of the most exciting parts of being a teacher is taking learning beyond the classroom. In the past five years, I have had the opportunity to extend my classroom beyond the school building and take students abroad to learn about different cultures while seeing and learning about famous events by actually standing in the spot where the action took place.

Through these experiences, I have helped over 140 students from northeast Indiana explore fourteen countries in Europe and three in the South Pacific.

Last year, I traveled with four of my past students to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia. We explored Fijian, Maori, Kiwi, and Aussie cultures through exchanges, homestays, and school visits with locals. The greatest part of the trip was opening their eyes to the vastness of our world and providing them with a once-in-a-lifetime, unique, and life-changing experience. After the program, these four students have gone on to be leaders in their respective high schools.

Meet more of the 2018 NEA Foundation awardees here. We’ll celebrate them at the 2018 Salute to Excellence in Education gala in February. Hope to see you there!

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