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One year ago, I applied for and won a fellowship through the Teachers for Global Classrooms Program , a professional development experience involving an online course, a symposium in Washington DC, and international travel. The online course, completed last fall, challenged me and introduced me to new concepts as I collaborated with colleagues around the United States to learn about global education. At the symposium in the winter, I met those colleagues for the first time. What a group of committed and inspiring, fun-loving and fascinating teachers! We talked and talked: during workshop sessions and sumptuous meals and late-night chats. We exchanged ideas, asked countless questions, and dug deep into what it means to be a teacher in an ever-changing global society.
My cohort, consisting of fourteen teachers, will be traveling to the Philippines in just over two weeks’ time. After a few days in Manila as a group, we will split off into pairs and trios. Along with Roma, a middle-school Spanish teacher from South Carolina, I will travel to Iloilo City on the island of Panay, Western Visayas, to spend ten days with the community of Leganes National High School.
I researched Iloilo City and learned that it once rivaled Manila as an economic powerhouse, but fell on tougher times in more recent years. Although it has a population of over 400,000 people, it is not a common tourist destination. Its lack of prominence means that it’s affordable and can truly offer a picture of real life in the Philippines. I am eager to immerse in the life of a true working city and get to know the culture of another country.
Our gracious host, Zoilo, is a techonology and livelihood skills teacher at Leganes High School. He is helping to arrange our schedule during our field experience, which will consist of some teaching, some observation, and some visiting of local sites.
I have much to do before I travel :Vaccinations! Shopping for gifts and necessities! Lesson plans! At the same time, I am finishing up the school year, preparing for a new position next year, studying for my National Board Exams, and welcoming family visiting from Italy. A most busy and most exciting time.