Thursday, August 6, 2009

Teaching Globally/Teaching from the Heart

What inspires you to teach globally?

Many of us point to a trip abroad, or the sudden realization that the world is wider than our county, or the new neighbors who brought fresh ideas and ways of living. All these are powerful experiences that open our minds and our lives to the world.

Sometimes it's a book that sows the seed. When I was four years old, my mother read me what I called a "chapter by chapter" book that never has left me. The title was (and is) The Ship That Flew.

Hilda Lewis tells the story of four children who happen upon an extraordinary magic ship that can take them anywhere in the world. And, they later discover, it can take them to other times, as well. Curious about the pyramids? Have a report to write on the Norman Conquest? They explore the place and time firsthand. Every one of their travels in the magic ship is not only a adventure, but an education.

I can't tell you how deeply it touched me, at first reading and at every reading that followed (and there were a lot of them!). What a great way to learn!

I knew by the time I started school that a magic ship was just make-believe. But I had some teachers who could rustle up some pretty impressive magic of their own. With their enthusiasm and knowledge, it seemed that we were flying magically to the places and times we were learning about, just like in The Ship that Flew.

There is some memory, some beautiful moment, that impels you to teach about the world, no matter how challenging it may be at times. At the end of this summer, before school begins, look into your heart for what inspires you as a global teacher. This year, and every year, let it help you and your students fly.

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