I’m thrilled and a little embarrassed to share my big news:
I’m going to Japan in June!
Why embarrassed? I love to travel and learn about different cultures around the world, but sometimes I feel like I’ve had too many opportunities. I firmly believe that anybody can get abroad regardless of money, but the facts are still hard to swallow. Many people only get to leave the country a handful of times in their lives, and I’m about to visit my 35th country. Is this fair?
My challenge is to turn this passion into a gift to the world, and I look to one of my favorite celebrities for inspiration. Andrew Ference loves to play hockey. This fabulous Bruins player is using his talents and fame to teach people around the world about what it means to be “carbon neutral.” He encourages people to bike to work and donate money to counteract their carbon footprint.
This brings me back to my big news: I’ve been selected as a participant on the Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)! I’m one of 24 American teachers who will go to Japan to learn about how we can teach kids about nurturing a planet that we can all live on for years to come. I’ll also go to San Francisco in May, where I’ll work with 24 Japanese teachers who are coming to the U.S. to learn with us. If all goes well, hopefully our impact will be great, both individually and as an international cohort. We’ll be learning how to teach young people about the only thing that really matters — making the world a better place for everyone.
With privilege comes responsibility, and I hope to give back more than I get from this experience. I plan to blog, as I’ve done in the past, so that all of you readers can follow along, but there will be more. I hope to collaborate with other American and Japanese teachers to create a service learning curriculum to inspire teachers and students at my school and around the world to take action.
Please comment below:
- If you are a teacher, have you used travel or other passions to give back in your school community? If you haven’t had many opportunities to travel, what kinds of resources would help you to get abroad? (Anything here help?) What curricular resources could I create from my experience in Japan that you would you like to use in your classroom?
- If you are a student, what are you interested in seeing me bring back from Japan? What kinds of blog posts or videos would you be most excited to see?
- Finally, is anybody reading this a fellow participant in the Japan U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for ESD? Please get in touch ~ let’s collaborate!
I’m thrilled to have this experience — not just to travel to Japan, but to continue finding a way to use my passions for something bigger. Thanks for being a part of this journey.
Final Note: According to Terrapass.com, just the air travel from my participation in this fellowship will use 7,786 lbs CO2. I plan to donate to offset this, which I believe means about a $46 donation. I’m still deciding the best organization to donate to — let me know if you have ideas.