Fulbright Teacher Blogs
I’d like to take a brief break from posting on my adventures here in Singapore to share with you several active blogs and sites written by the other 2018-19 Fulbrighters in my cohort. These inspiring educators are currently embedded in their own learning and teaching experiences around the world and I thought you might enjoy reading their posts as much as I do.
If you are a Fulbrighter and I’ve missed adding your blog or another that you are aware of, please do let me know and I will post it here as soon as I can get to it. I’m getting these mostly from the Facebook group and a few from Twitter, but I know I’ve missed several. I would love to share posts from everyone that wants to be included.
Leslie Baker (Finland)
A few weeks in, I am more comfortable but I still marvel at the new ways of doing things even as I embrace my “foreign-ness” and try everything new: foods, experiences, challenges. Plunging into an almost frozen pool after sauna (called avanto), walking across the nearly frozen lake as a shortcut, finding pedestrian pathways through tunnels, and eating unrecognizable foods, I am feeling braver and braver.
Heather Bigley (India)
Young women in Delhi don’t generally wear traditional dress nor cover their hair, so I don’t feel the need to do either. But women are less present in the streets: I’d say for every 10 folks we pass by, only 1 is female. Thus, I’m an oddity in multiple ways.
Jan Crow (Vietnam)
My Favorite Names: Teee-Cha! You, You, You; Go, Go, Go; Miss Jan Favorite Sayings & Questions: “Be Careful! There might be snakes, spiders, etc.” “You not old, You strange, but you not old!” “Did you eat?, When did you eat?, Are you hungry?” “Do you like Vietnamese food?” What’s your favorite dish?” “Picture Time!”
Emily Crum (New Zealand)
The ceremony begins with a woman crying out to the unknown visitors, she calls us to the marae. As we get closer to the house, marae, in some ceremonies you have the men enter the house first, taking off shoes before entering, or we sit outside. Men sit in the front rows, in case of danger, they protect the knowledge and future that women hold inside of them.
Sara Damon (Botswana)
Mental maps are the maps in our heads that help us navigate our daily life without a lot of conscious thought. My first few days in Gaborone have been spent constructing some new mental maps. I now know how to get from my apartment to the bank, the grocery store, the University of Botswana campus and Tess' apartment (my Fulbright colleague). Unmarked streets are a challenge and when asked, ever helpful Batswana give directions with landmarks that are at this point terra incognita to me.
Jana Dean (Netherlands)
My curiosity about what happens in math class in the Netherlands comes from questions I ask of myself, my colleagues, and our schools and systems.
How do we teachers support students across language barriers, cultural code-switching, and in a world in which white nationalism continues to cast its shadow?
How do we use the language and power of mathematical thinking to address institutional racism and the vestiges of colonialism and slavery?
How do we teach (or not) towards and ideal that math belongs to everyone?
Bridget Federspiel (Vietnam)
My project is to create a documentary about how Vietnam has changed since the war. As a teacher I teach the Vietnam War but I don't spend any time showing how Vietnam is today. In fact most Americans only think of Vietnam in respect to the war. They have no idea of what the nation is like today. For the past 14 years my classes have worked collecting veterans stories for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. So I decided I would use the same technique to create my documentary on Vietnam.
Shana Ferguson (United Kingdom)
How can schools help students cultivate an online presence that is thoughtful, socially aware, and participatory? How can educators help students analyze social media information as they construct their own profile and respond to the profiles of others? Join a team of educators in the United States and the United Kingdom who are committed to helping students better understand the role of social media in their civic and personal lives.
Matthew Freedman (Finland)
It is day 10 for me, and while I’ve had a dozen meetings, met several extraordinary people, been to some insanely beautiful spots, devoured countless afternoon pastries, had painfully sleepless nights of jet lag as well as deeply satisfying micro-comas of winter slumber, been underdressed, overdressed, perfectly dressed. . .the only thing I can report with all my heart and soul is this: Koti on Suomessa!
Leslie Hannam (New Zealand)
On my way I get to explore a bit by driving some crazy, curvy, windy, roads through mountains and along the coast - all on the left side of the road. Staying on the left was not as hard as I imagined, but knowing where to look for oncoming traffic was trickier. My panic reflex is still working hard as it seems to appear that cars are repeatedly coming directly at me from the other lane.
Lorrie Heagy (United Kingdom)
The topic of my inquiry project is Musical Futures and El Sistema: Bridging Two Global Music Education Models to Effect Social Change. I will research and observe Lucy Green’s (2005) informal learning approach at Musical Futures Champion Schools, alongside well-established programs in the global Sistema network. The UK is the only participating country in the Fulbright program which operates two innovative music education programs focused on the transformative power of music for social change: El Sistema and Musical Futures.
Robyn Katz Young (Finland)
Given that my focus is special education, as per the norm, my platform is special, and I have to find my way to get my specific questions answered, as they typically aren’t a part of the overall spiel. So in typical and uncomfortable Robyn fashion I spoke up not just in a staff meeting, but to some “higher ups” within the realm of the Finnish educational system.
Michelle Nicola (Mexico)
As I thought about creating curriculum that focused on Afro-Mexican stories, I realized that I didn’t want to tell the students where they are from- how ridiculous would that be?! I wanted my students to tell me about their heritage. What makes Coyolillo, Coyolillo? What are they proud of and where does their identity as a town of Afro-Mestizos show up?
Christine Powell (Singapore)
This week has been an adventure; from registering at the National Institute of Education for classes, spending my first week at my school site and meeting with teachers, adventuring into the labyrinth of air-conditioned shopping malls that put Vegas to shame, and getting happily lost on solo excursions out and about on this fabulous island.
Tess Raser (Botswana)
. . . I'm interested in afrocentric approaches to teaching and learning. I'm interested in compiling these findings in a way, yet to be determined (although I have some ideas), and pulling them from throughout this continent and the black diaspora at large. Because of this broader goal, during this study stage, I've been absorbing information, languages, poetry and music from the surrounding countries here in southern Africa.
Susannah Remillard (New Zealand)
I, along with a crowd on sunburned and camera-toting tourists, witnessed my first haka, the ceremonial dance. I drew certain parallels to our living history experiences at Plimoth Plantation. Our guide did not want to talk too much about feelings associated opening up an ancestral village to throngs of tourists, though he did admit to a certain resignation about the balance between sharing traditions and keeping the sacred sacred.
Amy Rosoff Sampson (Finland)
After a week of logistics and settling into our new home in Jyväskylä, we boarded a train for Helsinki to attend an orientation organized by Fulbright Finland. This highly professional team ushered us through the practicalities of the research we will embark on and then plied us with caffeine and encouraged us to jump through a hole in the ice.
Maggie Seegers Kelley (New Zealand)
… There was a full grocery store, so we were able to buy some breakfast and lunch items which was a nice change after eating out so much. We even bought quinoa and vegetables and cooked at home one night. We still partook in some of the kiwi cuisine. New Zealand salmon and blue cod are staples in this area, and I have eaten a lot of both.
Brindi Tahiliani (India)
Tuesdays are my long days at the University. I carpool with other faculty and I start my journey to the University at 7:00am and end my day at 6:30pm. As soon as I get into the car I am engaged in conversations around the education systems in India. I have learned so much in such a short time and I still have so much to learn. What I have realised is that the more I inquire about things the more I understand and I should not shy away from it.
David Theune (Netherlands)
. . . I was able to run the interviews: two of them, each with three students. (You’ll be hearing them in the coming weeks.) To no surprise, they’re teenagers. One a sister in a family of four girls and she mentioned that her dad could use a break. Another works three small jobs. Another young man wants to find his way to America to play baseball, but knows the opportunities are slim.
Keith Thompson (Northern Ireland)
It might be no surprise to anyone that the United Kingdom, being an island, has a unique relationship to the sea. Of course, being an American History teacher, some of this enters into my regular consciousness at say, the Revolutionary War, 1812, or with the almost-too-hard-to-overestimate-the-importance-of publishing of The Influence of Sea Power Upon History: 1660-1783 by Alfred Thayer Mahan. Those ideas, filtered through people of influence like Theodore Roosevelt (later Assistant Secretary of the Navy) almost single handed-ly (booked-ly?) changed the course of U.S. and world history.
Diem Vuong (Singapore)
This week is to get myself familiar with the campus, school profile, setting up school timetable for classroom visitations, and have access to school facilities. Each student in Singapore get a chance to travel overseas at least once in their secondary schools (the photo galleria are the memoirs from the trips that were taken during 2018 academic year)