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Travel References in Teaching

Heather is a Primary Teacher from Canada who is currently working in London through Protocol Education. Heather has had the opportunity to travel many parts of the world and shares some of the lessons she has learnt.

Travel is an important aspect of my life, and thus has a huge impact on the way I teach. In the hidden curriculum, students are exposed to a wider array of experiences, incorporating various encounters with different religions, customs, and sense of what is ‘normal’. Particularly important in such a diverse country where students come from divergent backgrounds, are examples that show differences and similarities between locations and peoples. This enables us to understand the world, and our identifying actions – with a greater perspective.

Gustave Flaubert said “travel makes one modest; you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world’. He refers to those who, like me, are always pushing their limits and expanding their horizons.  I grew up in a small town, and now have stretched into different countries, which for a while, I called ‘home’. The more I travel the more vast and encompassing the world becomes. This is the impression I attempt to share with my students.

Mark Twain seems to understand a lot of the motives behind my travel. Since branching out, I’ve seemed to bump heads with my parents about different topics, and those who maintain the quiet life of rural towns and remote areas. Perhaps it’s because when I travel I’ve been alone, but I’ve encountered situations that are not always ideal, and are more likely to be out of my delegated comfort zone. This is the reality for many students as they age. In fact, Mark Twain wrote that ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness’, as we begin to look at areas we otherwise may have ignored. Think of all those who tour warmer climates with an organization or with an all-inclusive booking. Without those conditions of leisure and the sense of a planned itinerary, we don’t have a choice but to observe and listen to locals who are different from us – and have no other choice of living as we do.

Change is prevalent as you travel. Minute-by-minute is how you manage to survive in a country where nobody speaks your language. This is similar to the classroom, with every human participant, running by their own schedule and needs. D.H. Lawrence states ‘When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in’. As teachers trained and practiced, we still face circumstances that throw us off course. We may react to these times in a way that causes much stress. This all seems to be a regular part of the job though, as it’s just a minute part of the process that allows us to learn despite feeling that the ever confident teacher in us would should exhume. We become someone natural, and as when we travel, we take on the position of learner from which we can build ourselves back up and make keen reflections.

Have you had the opportunity to travel? Would you like to share your experiences? Email Megan at

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Tags: Heather, LondonNorth, Canadian-trained, teacher, travel, opportunities, world, overseas, quotes, lessons, thoughts, home, shared

Category: Australian Teachers

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