Imagine being asked, “If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?” – and then actually going there. For two teachers at Juan Seguin Elementary, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go anywhere on Earth became a reality only few get to experience.
Pre-K teacher Mayra Molina, and kindergarten teacher Michelle Rodriguez, together applied for a grant that gave them the option to travel to any part of the world. The non-profit organization known as the Rural School and Community Trust, granted the educators an all-expense paid trip to their chosen destination – Bali, Indonesia, this summer.
Molina and Rodriguez first learned about the opportunity through a school district email enticing teachers to travel anywhere on the planet. At first glance, the proposition seemed too good to be true, but the pair fit the criteria and the application process turned out to be simple.
The Rural Trust Global Teacher Fellowship Program awarded 13 fellowships this year to educators from across the country to support the professional and personal development of rural teachers. The self-designed summer learning experience allowed the selected teachers to choose a destination, book all the travel details, and go out and learn through exploring.
Essentially, the travelers will gain strategies in their journeys, which they will bring back and implement in their classrooms.
As part of the application, candidates were asked why and what they hoped to discover from their preferred location. For Molina and Rodriguez their essay, “Language Between Borders,” meant submerging themselves in a foreign language and figuring it all out – just as their students do every day.
“It’s heartbreaking to see my Spanish-speaking students struggling to understand English, and so by traveling to an unknown country, we will feel what our students feel,” Molina said. “Being on the other side will give us a more in-depth understanding to help our teaching strategies and make a real impact on our kids.”