Traveler Turned Teacher

Travel has been a part of my identity, a part of the ground on which I stand upon when I introduce myself, the piece of myself that I am most proud of since I started so many years ago. It has opened doors and allowed me to experience the surroundings I immerse within, has allowed me to laugh and cry and panic and be so filled with joy that I didn’t know if I would ever come down.

As I move towards the next part of my journey, I want to pay homage to the characteristic of me that defines a part of my life by surrounding myself with it.

Beginning in August, I will be teaching 5th grade in Florida and I could not be more thrilled. I worked my ass off for years to get to this point, went back to school and dove in headfirst into the world of curriculum and instruction and behavior management and procedures and standards…and I found that that world was a part of my intrinsic make-up as well.

Working seasonally for a few years, I was able to experience places and complete tasks that I would normally never have even dreamed of. A few years ago, I worked at a camp for adults who have special needs and it quite literally changed my life. I had never felt more fulfilled, felt more exhausted, but it was the people I worked with that made me realize where my heart and soul was.

I went back to school to study Exceptional Student Education and my first day, I was completely and totally overwhelmed. I remember they were throwing around acronyms and legislation like we all just knew what they were talking about, and I remember I had to stop the lecture and just ask them to kindly speak out the acronyms because I was a noob and had no idea what the heck they were talking about. Now, two years later, I know all those acronyms and more, but I still have so far to go.

Since I was fortunate enough to travel as extensively as I did, I wanted to represent that part of myself in my new space, my new classroom. I want to show the students I will be working with that they too can see the world and enrich their lives and experience the globe’s cultures. I want my students to understand that no societal norm or expectation or restriction can hold them back if they set their mind to it.

As such, my classroom’s theme will, of course, be travel. I haven’t decided if it’s going to be Adventure Awaits or World Travelers or something else equally as cheesy, but I’m going for it and I’m committing 100% to the theme. I have already planned for the first day to have each student as they arrive into the classroom, receive a passport of sorts, and it will be a “getting to know you” game but in the end, I want them to normalize this way of life, the way in which I conducted my life for so long, I want them to see that they are world travelers and that we’re in this together.

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