Details are starting to fall into place, and I’ve now connected to teachers in both Ukraine and Turkey whose schools I will visit. I couldn’t be more excited for my trip!
Our group will get oriented in Kiev, but then we’ll head out to various places around the country to visit schools in local communities. I am thrilled to have met, via email, my Ukranian teacher host, Lydia! She is a teacher at Zaporizhzhya Classical Lyceum, which is in the city of Запорі́жжя (Zaporizhzhya). I don’t know too much about this city, but I read online that it is the 6th largest city in Ukraine, and it is in the southeast part of the country, on the banks of the Dnieper River. These are some photos I found on wikipedia. I’ll be traveling there with Carol, another American teacher in the Teachers for Global Classrooms program. Like me, Carol teaches middle school Social Studies, but she lives in West Virginia. Carol and I are busy doing as much research as we can, learning about what we’ll see in Ukraine. I’m even studying the Cyrillic alphabet, which makes me feel like a little kid learning to read all over again!
Lydia sent us an itinerary for our time with her, and it is clear that we are going to have a spectacular visit. We’ll learn and see so much during our time in Zaporizhzhya. Everything on the schedule looks exciting, but here are some of the activities that I found most intriguing:
- Observing classes taught by Lydia and her colleagues, and getting a chance to co-teach with them
- Participating in a round table discussion with 11th grade students on American cultural diversity
- Eating traditional foods at local restaurants and and in a local home
- Having at a picnic on the Khortitsa Island and visiting local botanical gardens
- Visiting a town orphan house
- Participating in teacher discussion groups on student discipline and parent involvement
- Seeing tourist sites around town, from museums and art exhibitions to theatrical performances
- Attending a conference with 100 principals from some of the best schools all over Ukraine
Now that I have a better idea of what I’ll be doing during my trip, it’s starting to feel really “real.” I can’t wait! I’m lucky to also have an extra week to visit Turkey. Since this part of my travels is not an official part of the Teachers for Global Classrooms program, I am arranging that visit on my own. I have emailed with a teacher in Istanbul who is excited to meet me and wants to help find Turkish students to be penpals with my students. She is a young teacher who has studied with IREX in the United States and I also look forward to learning about Turkish education.
I feel so lucky to be embarking on this journey very soon. I fly out of Boston on April 14th, so departure day approaches!