Sunday, February 19, 2012

TGC Symposium I

So much came out of the first Washington Symposium.  I finally got to meet some of the people I have been talking to on Facebook and in the online course.  I spent some time with the group I will be travelling with in June.  I got a tremendous amount of resources to bring global education into my classroom.  I found a program I want to apply for that might be the next step in my own personal global journey.  That's an awful lot to pack into three short days.

I've been at lost ends lately in my professional career, asking some serious questions about things, at one of those crossroads where things are difficult and the path ahead is hard to discern.  I feel now, though, that I can see a little farther down the road than I could when I got on the plane Thursday morning.  I have plans rather than vague notions.  I am looking forward to getting back to my classroom and getting some of these things in motion.  It's been a long time since I have felt that electricity, that excitement.  It's good to feel it driving me again.

No small part of the energy I got came from the exchange of ideas and passion for teaching with all the professionals I encountered at the Symposium.  I found that teachers from everywhere were facing many of the same issues as me.  It's a small thing, but it matters, that sense of connectedness.  It is so very easy for teachers to feel discouraged, separated, isolated, and alone with all the burdens and demands they face in modern education.  That sense of community is crucial to success, and in my experience, it is so frequently lacking.

Additionally, I got to meet two of the international teachers who are here on their ILEP internships/exchanges, one from Indonesia and one from Brazil.  Talking to one and listening to the other's presentation was uplifting, too.  Suddenly, it occurred to me that I am a part of something much larger than my own school, district, or even my often-criticized and beleaguered state.  I am a part of an international family of teachers, all of us with that same passion and dream for our students in our hearts, all of us fighting the same little battles every day.  It doesn't matter what our first language is; we speak the language of education in our souls.

I cannot wait until we get to meet our host teachers in Brazil and get to go to their schools.  I want to see what their day is like.  We heard such big differences in their system and ours.  I'd like to see how it works in practice.  I think there will be a lot to learn and discuss.

Overall, the first Symposium was a great next step to the program.  I can't wait for what comes next.

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