I grew up in a small town. Correction, a wonderful little small town. I had no idea about the world surrounding us. My first internet experience was the dial up senior year. My technology class was on typewriters. My how times have changed. The photo below is a slight exaggeration. I have always had this driving force to see more and do more.
In college, I had tons of opportunities to meet others from all walks of life from all over the world. They helped, but it wasn’t enough. Senior year I remember suddenly feeling like a failure. What happened? When was I going to see the world? Why hadn’t it happened yet? During a senior lecture, there was a call for volunteers to participate in student teaching in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Little language was necessary as it was an English immersion school. It was AWESOME. During my time there, I got to experience first hand what it feels like to be out of the comfort of my own native home. I learned that it was necessary to lean on the kindness of others to get from a momentary point A to point B. I made family there and will love them forever.
Last year, my fabulous neighbor and writer, Helen Aitken, invited me to accompany her to Spain. We were on a tour bus with nearly fifty others from all over the world. Initially, I thought it was a trip about Spain, but I learned so much more about so many more places with these wonderful people. We made friends with others from India, New Jersey (lol) , The Philippines, Australia, England, and South Africa. Thanks to Facebook, our friendships continue to flourish.
Recently, my husband and I, took our second mission trip to Costa Rica. These past trips have been very special as we have been with the same people both trips. We were able to reconnect with those we worked with before as well as see the fruits of our past labor. They were more than friends there. They made sure we were well fed and guided us in our work and servitude. There is nothing like waking up in at sunrise, having an incredible cup of coffee, working yourself to near exhaustion, and gathering in the evening for a good meal together. The best days were when we had worship services to to go with it. Our friends there are family. Their community is our community.
When I am in the classroom, I have a little bit of Mexico, Spain, and Costa Rica with me. One thing that has stuck with me since day one of traveling, we aren’t that different. The best way to describe it is through Mem Fox’s, Whoever You Are.
I consider those wonderful humans when teaching the importance of global citizenship. There is still a big big world to explore. I may not see it all in my lifetime, but I want my students to feel empowered to learn all they can and establish relationships with humans all over the globe. Luckily, through technology, we can plant the seeds through Skype, Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media out there.
The world is shrinking folks, and our neighbors are closer than ever.
How to you teach global citizenship?
What resources can you share to help connect the world with your classroom?