By Sharon Davison
2016 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow
Article originally appeared on Education Week’s blog, Global Learning
Recently, Sharon Davison, kindergarten teacher at Allen Brook School in Williston, Vermont, traveled to Peru with a group of 30 American public school educators through the NEA Foundation’s Global Learning Fellowship. They visited museums, markets, and ancient Inca sites, but more importantly, they had the opportunity to engage in deep dialogue with Peruvian educators and students and broaden their perceptions of the world. She shares what she learned below.
“I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We’ve reached the Machu Picchu ridge, our guide says, so now we can take off our blindfolds. I blink in the sunlight as I tug the cloth away from my eyes. Then my gaze falls on the vista before me and I forget the sun, the hike, the long days of travel and thin mountain air. I even, for a moment, forget how to breathe.
My Global Learning Fellowship began with a year of global lesson planning and thinking about how to engage my kindergarten students’ curiosity about the world. In my classroom, I have always worked to use technology—Skype, Twitter, Kidblog, and much more—to share my students’ ideas and make connections with others around the world. Interacting with my fellow educators from around the U.S. helped me think about global learning from the perspectives of teachers of different grades and schools, and by summer, I was bursting with excitement as well as nerves for all that I would learn and share with my colleagues in Peru, in my first trip out of the US.
Despite my trepidation, I knew as soon as I got off the plane in Lima that this would be an amazing experience. In addition to experiencing a new place and a new culture and leaving my comfort zone, the conversations that surrounded me were full of the rich words of not only the Spanish language, but also of the native Quechua and Aymara.
Are you interested in participating in the 2018 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellowship? Now’s your chance! Apply by February 28, 2017.