Foundation Voices

Unlocking a World of Global Learning Through Community

Unlocking a World of Global Learning Through Community

As an educator, I don’t have to speak to the difficulties of the profession to those who participate daily within it. Teachers already know about the extensive amount of time dedicated to the work outside of contractual hours. Teachers are acutely aware of the emotional fortitude, courage, strength, and heart that are required to be effective in this field. Teaching is a noble calling and those who are dedicated to it, give beyond what most can comprehend. Unfortunately, amid year three of a global pandemic, teachers are being caught in the crosshairs of passionate community debates about their role.

So, why, as an educator who knows the unrealistic demands being placed on the back of the public-school teacher, would I recommend that one add something more to their overflowing plate and apply for The NEA Foundation’s Global Learning Fellowship (GLF)? The answer is community. Our buckets, our glasses, and our tanks are empty. We need (and deserve) a community of like-minded teachers to support, nourish, validate, empathize, and celebrate each of our endeavors. The Fellowship provides just that.

Last October, after months of dedicating myself to pedagogy that supports diverse perspectives, fosters curiosity and exploration, and ensures that all students feel seen, valued, and loved, I was faced with a small, but very vocal outcry from my community. The narrative was that the work I do, cultivating connection, curiosity, and community with students was wrong. During our GLF Summit, I spoke to others about how hard it is to embark on work that supports the Sustainable Development Goals and embeds equity and inclusion practices within a curriculum when some want to put a target on your back for doing so.

My cohort provided the supportive community my teacher heart so desperately needed. Assurances that I was not alone, that others were facing the same challenges, and validation that there was nothing wrong, but rather, that what I was teaching was a critically important endeavor.

Our students must be equipped for success. They desperately need the skills and ability to be able to communicate, collaborate, create, and problem solve with others in an increasingly globally connected world. As such, we should be cultivating empathy, understanding, and appreciation of diverse backgrounds, language, perspectives, and histories. Fostering global citizenship and competencies is crucial work, not just for student success, but for the sustainability of the planet. The Global Learning Fellowship does just that. It provides a framework that endows today’s teachers and supports tomorrow’s changemakers.

If you are an impassioned educator working toward more equitable and inclusive practices, or a teacher who would like to learn more about how to cultivate global perspective around issues like environmental activism within their classroom and community, the Global Learning Fellowship is for you! Take a step toward renewal and apply today. This is the way.