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The Value of International Service Learning

April 24, 2013

I have had the privilege of being a teacher for the past 16 years. In that time, I have worn almost every hat that can be worn in a school, spent three weeks canoeing with students in Northern Saskatchewan over three years where I logged over 2800KM, climbed mountains with students, and traveled around the world with students. Through all of this, I have seen students develop and grow and learn beyond anything that could be taught in a classroom.

At my core, I am a teacher. I have always been a teacher and probably will always remain a teacher no matter what hat I wear. Therefore, I want all students, whether in a classroom, in a canoe, on a mountain, or in a village in Nepal to have an experience that is transformative. An experience of working hard and reflecting on the impact the experiences have. This to me is the heart of becoming educated. But, I don’t just want to be involved in education – I want to change the world. I want my students to work alongside each other, and other students and truly understand the Swahili saying “Bega Kwa Bega” – shoulder to shoulder.  I want to break down barriers and build emotional capital in all the people we meet. I want to encourage the idea that all life and all people have value. I do not want to sound like a pontificating zealot. I’m not. I’m a simple classroom teacher who has a vision. That vision has taken me all around the world and has led me to a deep desire to be a transformative educator.

I know that I need to learn more about transforming education. I know that my vision will not be enough. I cannot wait to see where this all goes.

Have a great day,

Sean

 

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