Teaching Profession

A Road Trip for Teachers and a Chance to Get Inspired

By Madeline Will — January 22, 2020 2 min read
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In need of some teaching inspiration? You might find it on the road this summer.

Education Week has teamed up with Roadtrip Nation, a nonprofit that’s sending a group of teachers across the country in a green RV. The three teachers who are picked will spend three weeks this summer living and traveling in the RV, making stops along the way to meet other educators who are doing innovative work. Roadtrip Nation will make a documentary about the experience, which will air on public television.

Here’s what you need to know about this opportunity.

What is Roadtrip Nation? In 2001, a group of friends who had recently graduated from college and didn’t know what to do next decided to take a road trip across the country to ask people who do what they love how they figured it all out. They’ve turned that experience into an organization “dedicated to helping people find career and life fulfillment.”

Roadtrip Nation has been making public-television documentaries for the last 15 years in which a group of people from a common field or background travel the country and interview professionals about their challenges, successes, and how they got to where they are. Roadtrip Nation has also developed a curriculum for students to explore careers aligned with their interests. The curricula are for students in grades 6-8 and 10-12, as well as for college students.

What are some examples of past road trips? Many of the road trips have a specific theme, such as underrepresented groups in tech, first-generation college students, or people who have “beat the odds” to make it to college. Roadtrippers have interviewed everyone from John Legend to a lobsterman on the coast of Maine.

One road trip followed three aspiring teachers who met with educators, including 2014 National Teacher of the Year Sean McComb and former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Why are teachers next? About 8 percent of teachers leave the teaching profession each year, according to federal data. And they’re most commonly leaving because they’re dissatisfied about testing and accountability measures, their school administration, or about their teaching careers in general.

A recent poll found that half of teachers are so unhappy that they’ve seriously considered leaving the profession in the last few years. They feel as if their pay is unfair, and they don’t feel valued by their community.

A road trip won’t fix these issues, but it could help give teachers a burst of inspiration and encouragement.

Who will the teachers meet? Roadtrip Nation says the teachers in the RV will meet with “the kinds of innovative teachers who are using their unique voices and perspectives to make the classroom a better place for all.” The organization will work with the selected roadtrippers to find and book educators to interview, but the goal is to gather a diverse group of people from across the country.

How do I apply? The deadline to apply is Feb. 2. Applicants must be current K-12 classroom teachers and be available to commit to three weeks of travel during June. Roadtrip Nation will cover all travel expenses, plus a daily stipend. Apply here.

Image courtesy of Roadtrip Nation

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.