How appropriate to end an amazing night and an incredible week with the Beatles song, “Get Back”. It was time to say goodbye and go back to where I once belonged.
But I go back a different person. It would be impossible to go through a week of working and learning with 300 geniuses without being changed by the experience. I have learned so much this week that at times it felt as though my brain would explode.
One of the most powerful aspects of the week was the opportunity to listen to the stories of teachers from around the world and their projects. I was honored by their willingness to share their experiences, knowledge and challenges. My eyes were opened to a whole new reality, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for the courage that these teachers demonstrate each and every day as they do their job of working with learners and making them the best they can be. I was humbled by the bravery so many showed as they struggled to express their ideas in an unfamiliar language. But what they had to share was so important that they were willing to take that risk. Going back into my classroom, I want my students to have that same passion about their skills and knowledge, and know that they too need to share their genius with the world.
I have a new perspective as I go back to where I once belonged on Monday morning. I can’t wait to share the incredible feeling of connecting with so many people. I know how important it is to give my students that same experience. I couldn’t bring them with me to Redmond, but I can bring the world to them through the power of Skype. I can’t wait to see my students’ reactions as we reach out to their counterparts in places like El Salvador, China, Croatia, Singapore, South Africa and more.
Although I have always valued connecting our classroom to the world through Skype and social media, I know now that there is an even greater importance to do so. There is so much power in knowing that you belong to a global community of learners. My students need to be aware of a much bigger picture than just our beautiful classroom with all the advantages that living in middle class Canada brings. These connections teach them so much more than just curricular outcomes. When they share in these stories, they feel what it is to be compassionate , empathetic, courageous and brave. After this week, I know it is imperative to share these experiences.
I have so many people to thank. Thank you to Microsoft for this incredible opportunity. Thanks to Ziauddin Yousafzai and Angela Maiers for their inspirational stories of bravery and courage. Thank you to Marilyn Steier for your continued support and the push!
For their support and comradery throughout the week, thanks to all our Team Canada members.
Finally, thank you to the collaborative and hardworking members of Team 1, Lidija Kralj, Andy Ng, Warren Sparrow and Wei Wang. I am so very happy to have met you, and now to continue working with you on Project Courage!