About two weeks ago I was chosen to receive a grant of $5,000 to travel anywhere in the world. I had to write an extensive grant proposal explaining why my choice would enhance my teaching practice and how I plan to bring my experiences abroad back into the classroom. Because I have always wanted to go to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, I chose to focus on biology and creating a Spanish curriculum with biology content. This way students can learn and reinforce their knowledge of science while picking up Spanish at the same time. Unfortunately, I never did very well in biology in high school, so I need to build some major background knowledge before I attempt this feat. I figured that the Galapagos Islands would be the best place for me to do this: learning about biology in a place where Charles Darwin did research for his theory of evolution AND practicing my Spanish. It’s a win-win.
When I found out the news that I had been awarded the grant, I felt like I had just won the lottery. Free money is always great – but a free trip to the country of my choice is almost better! As a teacher of world languages and cultures, I try to use my summers to travel, but unfortunately on a teacher’s salary, this is not always possible. So, I am excited that there is an organization out there that recognizes the impact that international travel can have in the classroom. I owe a big thank-you to Fund For Teachers and Expeditionary Learning for granting me with what I think will be one of the coolest fellowships I’ve ever been a part of.
In addition to traveling to Ecuador for the first time (2nd to South America), I have also starting keeping a blog which is another big first for me. Ever since college, I’ve usually done what I can to avoid writing as much as possible – but I’m turning over a new leaf and challenging myself to express my thoughts, concerns and life experiences in a new way. I plan to blog about my travel experiences in Ecuador, but also about life as a foreign language teacher and lover of world cultures. I will probably blog in Spanish while I am there – so for those of you that always ask me what you can read to practice your Spanish – this is for you! Suerte! Fund for Teachers