World traveling is one of my favorite hobbies. Having both studied and lived abroad, I've had the opportunity to visit 14 different countries and make so many of my own adventures. Settling down to a job has been a hard transition for me, so I work to make sure that my travels are never behind me. I bring them into my classroom every day!
As high schoolers from varying socio-economic backgrounds, very few of them have left the country and most have not left the Midwest. Growing up, travel abroad wasn't something that was possible for me, but I was able to take advantage of grant opportunities in college to make it possible. I try to balance not being elitist in sharing my travels, while also explaining to them opportunities they might have in the future to fund their travels. My goal is to open them up to all there is to explore and discover out there in the world. And I think it's worked! This year I've had several students decide to apply to universities abroad and many, many more who've told me they are interested in studying abroad during college. I think that equipping students with a global mindset is one of the most important things a teacher can do. It helps expand students horizons and open them up to new opportunities. Travel also helps shape students to become more empathetic and to care more about humanity.
The first way that I integrate travel into the classroom is by coordinating my teaching with travels. I'm lucky that I teach British Literature and that I've had the opportunity to explore a lot of the UK and Ireland. As I teach about Yeats poetry, I show pictures I've taken of his dwellings in Dublin. As I teach about Tintern Abbey, I show pictures of my own trip to the abbey. As I teach about the English countryside in Pride and Prejudice, I share my own photos of countryside romps I've taken in the UK. I want students to feel as if they are in the setting that we read about. I have a class Instagram where I share pictures from our setting during the week and I'll also integrate them into my slides and lectures. Reading has had a huge affect on my love of travel and I want to give that love to my students.
The second way I do this is by making sure that I visit bookish places on the trips I do take. Before I travel, I'll research my destination before I leave to investigate famous bookshops, beautiful libraries, places related to famous authors, and locations that inspired famous pieces of literature. These adventures have led me to the British Library in London, the Library of Congress in Washington DC, and the Long Library at Trinity University in Dublin. I've visited the the cafes where Hemingway wrote and the bookshop that published Joyce. After each trip (usually upon returning from breaks), I share pictures of these literature locales with my students. This helps model to them a literary life and encourages them to discover their own bookish adventures.
I am so grateful for the opportunities I've had to travel. I want my students to have the world. I hope to open their eyes to these opportunities and spark in them a love of travel. I hope they one day have the same opportunities I have had to explore and create their own story.
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I'm Megan and I teach high school ELA. I'm all about literature, creativity, and aesthetics!