As I have become older, I am seeing more of my travels as different opportunities for learning about different areas of the world, but also learning about myself. In the last sixteen days, I have been to Barcelona, Rome, and to my parents’ hometown of Astros, Greece. It was an amazing experience but I am looking forward to coming home.
Here are some things that I learned while I was away.
We need to ensure that curriculum is relevant to students or they will disengage.
This is something that I have always known about school but really felt it on this trip. Being in cities where I did not know the language, I felt myself tuning out and craving to be somewhere else. I also started to become frustrated and seemingly checked out from some conversations.
I thought about how this could be similar to the kid who just doesn’t understand the language of “math” and quickly related it to my frustration with science as a student. I remember that I never enjoyed science until one of my favourite teachers ever, Mr. Schlosser worked to make things relevant to me. He always took time to explain things after class in a way that I would understand him, and without him, I would probably not be writing this because I almost failed grade 12 chemistry (a senior level science was needed to go into university). Before Mr. Schlosser though, I was a tyrant in any high school science class (I know, me as a tyrant! Who could believe it?). Looking back, I know it was because it was something that was WAY over my head and to be honest, did not have much interest in. Lashing out was the easiest way for me to say, “I am bored”, while also getting a ton of attention (I had lots from my teachers, my parents, and the principal because of those classes!). I never had problems like that in other classes, but definitely did in science. I felt that way all over again a few moments on the trip while conversations again went over my head. I will do my best to make sure that our students do not feel this way in the classrooms at our school.
Enjoy every moment with your family since time is fleeting.
I have always been a little different with my family. Being nearby and having proximity was always enough for me. Spending time with my brother was great as we have so many similar interests in our professions and I was able to pick his brain on his thoughts of education. I was also reminded of the frailty of life as I was reading through tweets and saw a fellow principal show that she had lost her mom unexpectedly and that we need to ensure that we appreciate what we have. It was an ominous sign for me.
As an educator, I want to ensure that parents are a part of their child’s education. I remember my secretary giving me a piece of advice at my old school that sticks with me when I am talking to parents.
“Always remember that when you are delivering news to parents, that you can either destroy or build their world. To you, that child is someone you care about, but to parents, they are their everything.”
If a child is a parent’s “everything” (which they are), it is very important that I do everything to ensure that they are a part of their education. I continuously say that parents are partners in education and this trip just confirmed this for me since family is so essential.
As I sit in the airport waiting for my last flight of the trip, I am excited to get home. It was a lot of learning with my brother by my side on this trip, but I am looking forward to everything that I have back in Edmonton. When we go away on these trips, it is essential that we come back and focus on really enjoying the things on our life. I am always glad for the experience, but its always great to be back.