Teacher Preparation Opinion

It’s Time to Get Cultured

By AAEE — June 27, 2017 3 min read
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One of the biggest buzzwords in today’s world of education is differentiation. It is about recognizing the differences between people, learning from others and adapting our own ways. One of the best ways to do this is to immerse yourself in other cultures, and gain some empathy for those around you. I strongly believe that understanding our students is one of the best tools we can use to teach them. This mentality has boomed across North America - a new found desire to experience the world and people so different from ourselves. What better way to obtain the best of both worlds other than to teach while travelling? Having the opportunity to experience new cultures and teach at the same time benefits not only your students, but also yourself.

The travel and tourism industry has been on a steady rise, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. The new buzzword, wanderlust, has become prominent making this desire for travel and culture so prevalent. According to Trekksoft travel blog, due to the rise of technology, travel has become that much easier. People can research other cultures and book a new trip at the touch of a fingertip on your Smartphone. Studying, working and living abroad no longer cuts you off from your previous world. The internet world and now social media allow you to stay in touch no matter where you are, and it isn’t such a scary venture anymore. Also, thanks to the ever-changing travel industry, travel doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. This world has opened the eyes of many, fuelling that desire to see somewhere new, immerse yourself in a new culture and ultimately experience the end goal: growth.

Trekksoft estimates that approximately, “17 million travellers identify themselves as being ‘health and wellbeing’ focused, with 40% of them travelling regularly.” We all know that teaching can be stressful on a regular basis, and teacher “burn-out” is a real thing. Often, teachers don’t take that time for themselves. Sometimes it is about putting yourself first to recharge your batteries, and in the end your students will benefit. Those school breaks should be put to good use! While teaching abroad, any day can be a vacation. Your new and exciting surroundings that you navigate through can open your eyes to a whole new you. That refreshed travel glow can brighten up your return to the classroom.

By living and teaching abroad, there will be new sites to see and new people to meet, each one having an impact on your growth and wellbeing in their own special way. Your first time trying to navigate a new city surrounded by people who don’t speak your language, might just help you relate a bit better to that EAL student you have been struggling to reach. Allowing yourself to grow will allow you to share your experiences with your students. As a teacher, you are a role model. As young students who don’t have the same opportunities to be “cultured,” they won’t yet understand the power of connecting with others and how accepting others can change your perspective on life. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to give first-hand experience and take advantage of those “teachable moments.”

As educators, we shape the future generation one student at a time. We have a very serious responsibility to always put our best foot forward. Putting our best foot forward means putting our best self forward, it doesn’t always mean the best lesson plan. Meeting new people, exploring new places and accepting new cultures allows ourselves to become well rounded individuals, helping our mind grow. A well-rounded teacher can enhance the lives of their students but preaching acceptance, new cultures and empathy.

Sarah Maloney , B.A. Hons, B.Ed

Senior International Recruitment Consultant

TimePlan Education Group Ltd

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