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I love to travel. I know, who doesn’t, right? Although travel is fun, it is also beneficial to my teaching practice. Each trip is an investment in my professional development. It’s like a field trip, adding real life experiences to former knowledge to deepen understanding.
Our world is getting smaller. There are many serious global problems requiring worldwide cooperation to find effective solutions. It is more important than ever to gain an understanding of cultures outside our own. There is no better way to achieve this than through travel.
Remember, you bring it all back to your classroom and your students. They will become responsible for caring for our world and solving these complex problems. Teachers like Lessia B. know this firsthand. She says, “Kids love stories. When I can illustrate how our culture is not the only culture from experience and often, with humor, they become more worldly themselves. They begin to get that it’s not just all about ‘us.'”
However, international travel is expensive. In many cases, prohibitively so, especially on a teacher’s budget. But don’t fear! There are ways teachers can lessen the blow to their wallets.
Although international travel is great, it’s good to check out your own backyard, too. I recently visited my state’s capital, which is not far from my home. I had never visited before, and I left wondering why I hadn’t gone sooner. It was so interesting, and I learned so much. The next week, I was able to share what I learned with my students as we started an architecture unit. There are gems like this everywhere, and you may not need to drive far to get to them. I bet you’re thinking of places you can visit right now. Why not take a road trip this summer to explore?
Knowledge gained about a place and a culture when you travel is unique. You will be able to share your story with your students, instead of just the facts. Sarah Mays, the creator of the Educators Love to Travel Facebook group puts it this way, “Travel has become an important part of me being an art teacher. Whether touring the Iznik Tile Foundation in Turkey or the Amazon Rainforest in Peru, I have been able to use firsthand knowledge through travel to enhance my curriculum. I believe travel has allowed me to become a better art teacher by bringing authentic, relevant and exciting experiences to my students, which helps them begin to understand how they are connected to the world and its people. ”
In short, kids love to learn from teachers who are passionate and have something special to share. So pack a bag and get out there!
Do you have a story about how travel has enriched your teaching?
Why do you think travel is important for teachers?