My first international and teaching experience came about during a study abroad program in Ecuador where I taught ESL to my own high school class of 50 students because the teacher they had hired never showed up that year. Having survived that experience, the language later led me to a position here in Western Mass teaching elementary school Spanish and working as a library media specialist. I strove to integrate global education into the k-6 language program, where many students had never ventured beyond the boundaries of their own county and needed tools to make their learning less abstract.  To refresh my Spanish and satisfy my desire to somehow participate in international development, I spent my summers traveling and volunteering in Bolivia, Mexico, Peru and Ecuador. I offered short-term relief for mothers at a pre-school for vulnerable rural children, taught a community English class, gardened with school children and continued to return to my job each September. In an effort to include my students in global/community-based learning, I brought a group of sixth graders to Costa Rica for a service-learning trip in 2004.


In 2005, I left teaching to join the U.S. Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa. I worked on a nationwide teacher training initiative for alternative certification of rural untrained teachers.  I wrote curriculum materials and taught at The Gambia College, the primary teacher-training institute in the country. I used my library background to develop library centers in 3 local schools, and continually worked with various international organizations on in-service programs for teachers. After 3 years I came back to the U.S., only to return to The Gambia to teach at the Banjul American Embassy School where my students came from all over the world and often had little exposure to the local culture and community. Suddenly, the “hidden” curriculum seemed to have shifted from bringing the world into the classroom, towards guiding students toward an acceptance of their own surroundings.


I come to CIE with a background in formal education, but having had my philosophy and teaching practice shaped in non-traditional ways.  I am interested in the ways that a teacher’s own training can so greatly influence the outcome of education and ultimately of society. I see CIE as a resource and community in which learning can be combined with participation in education development, which seems an ideal fit.


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