Members of the VSTE Board of Directors will be taking time to periodically share their ideas and passions with the VSTE membership. In this edition, Terry Lowry from Wakefield School reports on her first day in China as part of an education delegation.
Holy crap! I’m in China! Back in my IT consulting days, I thought it was glamorous that I got to travel to California or Louisiana on my company’s dime. When I decided to return to the world of education back in 2004, I assumed that my days of travel, other than the occasional cheese-wagon field trip to DC, were over. But here I am, in friggin’ CHINA! I am so incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity.
Why me? (Great question – even though I ask it of myself) I am blessed to work at an independent school that emphasizes global awareness and involvement as one of its strategic initiatives. Having said that, the international educator’s forum that I am participating in is not just for independent schools. It is open to school leaders throughout the world. Yep – that’s right – THE WORLD! And here is another crazy thought (at least to me) – I’m visiting here as a school LEADER. While I am part of my school’s leadership team, I consider my primary role as that of a classroom teacher. While my direct teaching time is limited, nothing makes my happier nor do I find anything more rewarding than the time I spend working one-on-one with children. I do not consider myself an administrator, even though I make administrative decisions. I am fortunate to have a blended role where I can both directly interact with children while also guiding and leading the school in its vision and goals. I am hoping that, given that I am most comfortable advocating for the child and teacher, I fit in with all the other “school leaders” in attendance. I have been labeled a bit of a rebel in the past.....just ask our VSTE chairman of the board, Keith Reeves.
Tomorrow I visit our partner school, Xuzhou No. 1 Middle School. I have gifts to bring from one of our teachers who visited last spring and other gifts from our school to theirs. I couldn’t be more excited, but at the same time nervous. I am embarrassed that I do not know any Mandarin while most of the folks I have come in to contact with speak at least rudimentary English. My knowledge of the Romance languages is fairly good. Put me anywhere in Europe and I can figure things out fairly well. Here, however, is a totally different story. I encourage all schools, parents, and their children, to expand their language offerings and skills beyond those that may be typically available. Today’s world is much smaller (figuratively) than the world that we or our forefather’s knew. It is to our advantage to know as much about it as possible.
Last thoughts (before jet lag overcomes me):
- The Chinese are incredibly kind and gracious.
- The cities I have seen (Beijing and Nanjing) are crazy polluted. I was literally smogged in on my connecting flight.
- The jet lag one experiences from traveling from the east coast of the US to China is killer.
NOTE: Check back here for updates as Terry continues to share her insights.
Board director Terry Lowry is Director of Technology Integration and Curriculum Coordination at Wakefield School located in The Plains, Virginia. Terry serves as the chair of the VSTE Awards Committee. Find her on Twitter @tekkieteacher.