For Jenna Hunter it was watching the rapid decline of family farming in her rural North Carolina community and wanting to find ways that her students could help protect their land and still earn a living. For Pam Dow and Meg Allison it was gaining a new appreciation for the importance of storytelling after floods devastated their small Vermont town. For Selena Montgomery it was concern about the health of local children and a desire to do more to meet the growing diversity in her south Georgia community. Nicole Buschmann and Maribeth Dann wanted to stretch themselves well beyond their usual comfort zones — and gain an understanding of how the ecosystems in their rural Missouri farming town connect to those on the other side of the world.
The 32 rural teachers who traveled the globe as 2013 Global Teacher Fellows each had their own reasons for making a journey to another part of the world. But they all came back with renewed enthusiasm, fresh perspective, an expanded appreciation for their own place, and deeper faith in the capabilities of their students to make their own communitiesóand the worldóbetter for everyone.
The 2013 Global Teacher Fellows are listed below. Read about the 2013 Global Fellows' experiences in the Rural Trust newsletter Rural Policy Matters.
Click here to read about the 2012 Rural Trust Global Teacher Fellows.
Ohatchee High School
Civil Rights and Diversity Immersion in Ireland: Richard participated in a study of comparative civil rights and diversity immersion in Limerick, Ireland. He acquired diversity training that blended concepts of regionalism, socio-politics, faith, culture, history, equality and social justice. Through immersion in the Irish culture, he also acquired valuable background knowledge and understanding of related civil rights events and eras.
A Culture in Control: Amanda visited New Zealand to explore the culture of the Maori and how they are able to promote the values and lifestyle of their culture in local schools. She immersed herself in the culture and lifestyle of the Maori people to understand how they work within their physical environment, about the environment and what that looks like in today's world. Her unit plan explores different environments based in New Zealand.
4th and 5th Grades
North Mitchell County Elementary
Exploring the World Through Canadian Eyes: Selena and Delceina began their journey in Burlington, Vermont, focusing on the Burlington School Food Project and how schools integrate food and nutrition within their curriculum. Then they were off to Montreal, Canada, where they studied the history, culture and agricultural sectors. They will use their experience to enhance their school's wellness program and focus on locally grown foods.
The Island Connection: Yvonne traveled to four islands in Scotland to explore communities similar to the Maine island of Vinalhaven where she lives and teaches. She studied the role of the school (excluding higher education) and learned how educators connect to integrate with local culture and economy. The experience will inform her place-based curriculum, strengthen the school's new vision and commitment to standards-based learning and inspire her students, community, and other island educators.
Gwinn Middle School
African Adventures: Kristy journeyed to Tanzania, Africa, along with 14 other teachers. She was immersed in the science of biomes, ecosystems, plate tectonics, volcanoes and more as the group climbed Kilimanjaro, explored the Ngorongoro Crater, trekked through the Serengeti, surveyed Jan Goodall's primate research in Gombe, and visited Tanzanian schools. In order to bring this science back to her students first hand, she will create videos of this adventure to use with her classes.
Hermann High School
Tourists To Travelers—Ghana: Maribeth and Nicole explored Ghana's different ecosystems, savannas, marines, wetlands and the rain forests. They made observations and interviewed researchers, farmers, and leaders of NGOs to get a better understanding of problems that the ecosystems are facing. They will use this field experience to lead a comparative research study with their students comparing ecosystems in Ghana with ecosystems in Hermann, Missouri.
Cultivating Citizens And Teaching Arab Spring: This journey focused on civic education in Morocco, a culturally rich Arab Spring country. Christine studied how Moroccan teachers, especially those in rural areas, meet the civic learning needs of their youngest citizens. She visited a school that is the heart of Moulary Idriss, a small village. After experiencing the daily rhythm of village life, she traveled to Fez to learn about civic education from Moroccan scholars and teachers.
Traphill Elementary School
Traphill, North Carolina
North Wilkesboro Elementary School
North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
The Force of Finland: This fellowship was designed with the idea of bringing back ideas to implement in classrooms, schools and the school system. Finland's overhauled educational system now ranks near the top in world standing in spite of a population that includes many non-native language speakers and one third of students who need additional help. Kristi and Lynn immersed themselves in Finnish culture to learn from Finland's educators.
Orange High School
Hillsborough, North Carolina
"Think Globally. Act Locally:" Connecting Economics and the Environment through Ecotourism The goal of this fellowship was to travel to Costa Rica and observe sites of ecotourism, interview owners, developers and community leaders in ecotourism and assess the potential for emulating ecotourism practices in rural North Carolina. The themes of Jenna's AP environmental science, earth science, and biology courses drove her investigation of ecotourism with a strong focus on energy and sustainability.
Butner Stem Elementary School
Butner, North Carolina
An Enchanting Trip Down The Fairytale Road in Germany: Sandra traveled to Germany to explore the German Fairytale Route. The route offers culture and history, enchanting medieval towns, bewitched castles, fairytale palaces, grottos and museums. Sandra followed in the footsteps of the Bothers' Grimm and experienced firsthand the culture and community they called home. The route is a place where many childhood dreams spring into life. Sandra's goal is to enhance learning and expand student work.
Avery County High School
Newland, North Carolina
"All Roads Lead to Rome" and "Let the Games Begin:"These are two of the most popular phrases in the English language; yet, most students are oblivious to their historical context. Whether delving into their governmental structure, engineering marvels, religious and cultural history, Teresa's students will gain a greater understanding of how the Greek and Roman Empires influenced the western world. Studying the past and connecting those same roads will enable students to make connections to the 21st century.
Jonathan Valley Elementary
Waynesville, North Carolina
From Farm to School to Italy and Back to School: As a fifth grade teacher in a school newly involved in the Farm to School Project, Carla visited sustainable farms, took a variety of cooking classes and immersed herself in Italy's food culture. She plans to use her experience in her school to get students and their families more involved in learning where their food comes from, growing their own food in a community garden, preparing food and eating fresh local foods together.
Brenda Klawonn Catherine English
Aurora High School
Immigration Inquiry: Meeting the Past in the Present: Brenda and Catherine traveled to New York City and six European countries — Ireland, England, Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Greece to study immigration history and current issues. In three countries, they focused on old immigration (1800–1880) and in three others, they focused on new immigration (1880–1920) patterns to examine the emigrant experience, the cultural influences brought to America, and how the realities of poverty and hunger initiated the decision to emigrate. They also gained insight into the difficulties immigrants faced upon arrival in the U.S.
Kathleen Baker, Angie Fondale and Kristen Lavric
New Lexington Middle School
New Lexington, Ohio
From Appalachia to Australia: "As teachers, we strive to be the best we can, always looking for programs and strategies to implement in our classrooms to help our students achieve the highest learning possible." Inspired by David Langford's Quality Learning Tools seminar, Kathleen, Angie, and Kristen traveled to Australia and visited a school that has been utilizing this program for years.
Gilmour Elementary School
Fairy Tale Road: Lesley traveled to France and Germany to explore the role that architecture, landscape and culture played in the creation of fairy tales, learn techniques to inspire students' creativity and role play, and create a pen pal relationship with an elementary class in Germany. She also explored Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Centre, and the numerous forests and castles which gave her "the inspiration, resources and knowledge to enhance student' literacy skills and unleash their imagination."
Wes and Kate Crawford
Sutherline High School
On Site With New Zealand Agriculture: This fellowship was an immersive, hands-on agricultural and educational experience in New Zealand. Wes and Kate personally connected with a multitude of people and businesses engaged in the industries of agriculture in contrast to our own. The two-week experience explored both islands through on-farm visits, tours, interviews and connections to other agriculture educators, providing a priceless insight into different people and practices.
Footsteps in the Past: "The Vietnam War is one of the most controversial periods in our history," Alain explains. His goal was to go to Vietnam and participate in a guided tour of historically significant places pertaining to the war in an attempt to step in soldiers' footsteps and try to make sense of the conflict. "Flying into Hanoi and travelling to places that are etched in our collective memory [was] a life transforming adventure for me and I believe will have a great impact on my students."
10th, 11th, 12th Grades
Chambersburg High School
The Search for Tolerance: Elicia traveled to South Africa to garner a better understanding of the culture and better comprehend and analyze apartheid and its influence on that nation. "I wish to study this subject because of my strong interest in social justice and education, and because it is a concept explored by Alan Paton, Nelson Mandela, Nadine Gordimer and Mark Mathabane: these authors are studied in my school's World Literature curriculum unit on tolerance."
Austin Fay Ian Burfoot-Rochford
4th and 5th Grades
Ancient Sites and Service in Peru: "We are a team in need of a cultural wake-up call and a chance to throw ourselves out of our comfort zones." Austin and Ian journeyed to Peru to see Macchu Picchu and other ancient ruins, trek to villages for cultural immersion, and learn about food, crafts, customs, and life in Peru. They then volunteered in Cusco with organizations offering much needed services to disadvantaged and homeless children. "This experience will impact our teaching for the rest of our lives."
Meg Allison (l) and Pamela Dow
Meg Allison Pamela Dow
When You Wish Upon a Star: "Fairy tales filled with universal themes and archetypes are an essential part of a child's imaginative world." Some of the earliest tales written in France and Northern Italy during the Renaissance continue to captivate readers. Meg and Pamela explored the cultural foundations, the castles and towers, the feasts and the arts of these fairy tales to deepen their own as well as their students' enchantment and wonder.
Oxford, New Hampshire
Israeli & Palestinian Immersion: Stephen spent two weeks in Israel immersing himself in the culture, history and politics of Jerusalem and the West Bank. He joined a 10-day guided tour of the West Bank, during which he lodged with Palestinian families and spent three days participating in a community service project. The remaining four days of this trip he spent in and around Jerusalem's Old City, primarily visiting places of worship and other holy sites and museums.
Allison Shriver (l) and Julie Midkiff
Allison Shriver Julie Midkiff
Bradley Elementary School
Mt. Hope, West Virginia
From Appalachia to Art Application: Julie and Allison traveled to Europe to study the connection between European/Mediterranean Art and the Appalachian Arts and Crafts Tradition. "In Appalachian culture, there is a great pride in passing down the tradition of making arts/crafts in which our students can relate." To make real world connections between generational learning, they investigated the guild and systems of art/craft education from European/Mediterranean cultures and planned interactive, hands on activities for students at their school.