Sunday, February 21, 2016

Reflections on TGC Global Education Symposium

"The first day or so we all pointed to our countries. The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day, we were aware of only one Earth." 
Saudi Astronaut Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud on looking down on earth from space

This quote was shared by Homa Sabet Tavangar during her powerful presentation on our final day at the Teacher for Global Classrooms Global Education Symposium in Washington, DC.  I start my reflection with this quote as it perfectly and succinctly states the reason we all came together this past weekend; to promote Global Citizenship in our classrooms in hopes of creating a generation of learners who no longer see themselves as just residents of their hometown, or citizens of the United Staes, but as contributing members of a 21st century globally connected world where their voices can be heard, and their actions can make a difference. Our main goal is to help students, and anyone else who will listen, realize that we are all citizens of the planet earth, and with the endless possibilities technology has provided us, we can now communicate, collaborate, empathize and take action with people from around the globe. We aim to empower our students by providing them with the necessary skills to not only succeed in the 21st century global economy, but to make this world a better place.

The symposium was even more incredible than I could have imagined. Just being in the same space as like-minded educators in our nation's capital was worth the trip, but IREX provided us with such meaningful experiences, from the opening night "meet and greet," to the inspiration sessions by TGC alum, representatives from the U.S. Department of State, and rock stars of global education (like Homa and many others.) That being said, the absolute highlight of my weekend was bonding with the other teachers who will be traveling with me to the Republic of Georgia. Stephen (a.k.a Stephani), Walt, Renee, Natasha, Meredith, Mario, Linda, Megan, Kira, Priscilla and of course my AWESOME travel partner, Joe, are some of the most passionate, intelligent and FUN educators I have ever had the pleasure to work with! The amazing Claire, who spent almost three years in the Republic of Georgia as a member of the Peace Corps, is our fearless leader, and we couldn't have asked for a more knowledgable guide on this journey.

              Our host teacher in Georgia, Lela                 Some of my new TGC friends      My awesome travel partner, Joe Smith

While we were in DC, Joe and I received numerous emails from our host teacher, Lela, over in Georgia, who is beyond excited for us to arrive (the feeling is mutual!) Joe and I will be presenting to three different organizations in Georgia on the U.S. Education System, as well as our particular schools/districts. We also have the honor of co-teaching with Lela who teaches English to over 175 K-12 students in a beautiful city called Akhaltsikhe, where Joe and I will be "living" for a week. 

The 2016 TGC Fellows!

My head is still spinning from the new knowledge I have acquired this past weekend, and my heart is full with the love and support of my Georgia cohort and host teacher! Another note of thanks to my principal, Mr. Mike Scarano, who came along with me to the symposium, to show his support of global education and me as an educator. Every time I come to him with one of my "crazy ideas" he tells me to go for it. I could not have been a part of this experience without his support, and the support of my forward-thinking superintendent, Dr. William George. 

I am now counting down the days until March 11 when my journey officially begins. I hope you will come along with me...

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