The Global Teacher

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 11.20.08 AMI have talked about the notion of “classroom teacher” vs. “school teacher” in posts before, and have begun to rethink this notion.

Simply put, a “classroom teacher” is someone that focuses on their classroom and students only.  Although there can be a huge benefit to their own students, this often leads to weaker relationships with other students.  They often see other kids as someone else’s issue and will avoid dealing with them.  They also keep their practices to themselves and have their classroom door closed, sometimes literally, but most often figuratively.

Then you have the “school teacher“.  This to me was the ideal as this teacher connected with every student in their classroom, as well as students and educators around the school.  They see supervision as an opportunity to connect with others and build relationships with kids.  They share their practices openly with others because their focus is always on “what is best for kids“.  If they can share something, and you can take it, remix it, and use it for your students, they make everyone better.  They think of the school as a village and their expertise and experience is shared exponentially not to only help their kids, but all kids in their school.

So now I have started to think about the “global teacher“.  The global teacher has the best elements of the classroom and school teacher, but their focus is on “what is best for kids”, no matter if is their own kids, kids in the school across the street, or across the ocean.  They got into teaching because they love students and want to help every single one of them, no matter their situation or location.  They care for the kids in their classroom, they share openly with others in their school and connect with kids, but want to make things better past their own situation.  They inspire change whether it is with one classroom in another school, or thousands.  They also tap into others and bring the best to their students. The more we look at what others are doing, the better we can become for the students closest to us.

Global teachers (should) care about education as a whole, as well as their school and their classroom.  I just want to iterate that if the person only looks at sharing and learning globally, but cannot connect with those in their classroom or school, I would not consider them a “global teacher”.  They just know that we are better when we work together, not just taking, but contributing.  They know what they share makes a difference for others, as well as knowing what they learn from others makes a difference for their school and students.

So where are you on the spectrum, and what type of teacher would you want in your school?



  1. I could not agree more George! Although I must be loyal to the school division that pays my wage, I have to believe that all kids deserve the best! I’ve learned that being connected or being global has helped my division just as much as others. In the end, if it’s not for all kids, who is it for?

  2. Another great post. Really like the idea of a continuum. However, I was left struck by your comment that just because a teacher is ‘global’ doesn’t necessarily mean that they are classroom or school teachers. I find a lot of great ideas ‘globally’ which I have no scope to take back in my ‘school’. I feel challenged by this every day.

  3. George – great start of an important conversation. What you are saying only scratches the surface of the implications of being a wholistic = a well rounded person who raises our connectedness and disire to learn about everything. “Think Globally, Act Locally” touches the classroom, school, world. Our international mindedness (similar to what the IB people promote) create a habit of mind that respects the dignity and wonder of our journey as learners everywhere.

  4. I would think/hope that I am a global teacher, as i am a certainly a global learner. However there are times (this year being an extremely challenging year for me) where the needs within my own classroom must take precedents over my contribution to the school and the global community. My number one job is to be the best teacher I can be for the children that arrive at my classroom door each and every day. It is not to say that I am not contributing within my school, my district and beyond, but there are times when I need to say no to others so I can focus on the needs right in front of me.

  5. Excellent points here, George. Educators certainly have the tools to give kids access to cross-cultural, global learning opportunities…but not always the time or admin support. The Exchange 2.0 Coalition is sharing some insights via a webinar series this month on ‘virtual exchange,’ especially as it relates to teachers. Definitely worth checking out:

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