Teachers and Their Travels

Chenoa Anderson, Staff Writer

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It’s hard to see a teacher outside of a class setting, putting them in a situation that is so human like. We only see them as a person who is telling us what to do and giving us grades. So it’s unimaginable to see them going to another country and doing normal things like, having some wine, surfing, or even teaching in a whole different setting. It’s hard to imagine that many teachers have travelled. They are not robots. They are like many of us and want to get away from everyday life.

Mrs. Craven, is one of our resident English teachers and has travelled to Europe and South America. She went on a backpacking trip in Europe. She visited eight countries in 28 days when she was 22 years old. She went to France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland among others. While in France, she went to the Eiffel Tower, and to a few museums. She’s gone skiing in the Swiss Alps and has been to the Anne Frank House. By the time she was 30 and after six years of teaching in America, Mrs. Craven decided to pack up and teach at an American school in Guatemala. She said “Teaching in another country is totally different than teaching in the United States. It’s a very dignified profession. You’re highly respected and if you work at an American school, typically part of your payment package, is a stipend for your living arrangement and we all lived in very nice living quarters. It was pretty sweet. Kinda feel like royalty.” Which is different from how we treat teachers here. We just pay them and send them on their merry way. Symote Champey was a place that Mrs. Craven enjoyed going to while in Guatemala. It’s a place that is outdoors and has caves, natural pools. You’re also able to zip-line and camp while there. She didn’t spend all her time in Guatemala, though. Mrs. Craven would go to neighboring countries like El Salvador to go surfing and just explore southern North America. The thing she’s taken out of being in another country is “Kids are kids are kids.” What Mrs. Craven has taken out of traveling was that we are all human, so we all have the same needs. So it’s sometimes best to observe and to have an open mind.

Peru, France, England, Wales and Canada. They are all fairly far apart, and some overseas but one of the things they have in common is that Mrs. Murray (one of our English teachers) has travelled to them, all. She didn’t really go for any other purpose than wanting to actually see the countries and getting the chance to experience the cultures. She’s gone to England to visit some of our favorite authors houses to see where they lived and wrote. She went to Wales because it was near England. She actually had a bucket list of places to see, of which most came from magazines she’s seen as a kid or places that you see on television and from famous authors. When she visited Peru, she remembers it being very different, due to how their roads are. You could also be in a wealthy area and then go to a poverty stricken area within a block. Mrs. Murray remembers Peru being very driven by tourism, since many people depended on that rather than regular jobs. France was difficult for her, since she is vegetarian and so she ate a lot of pasta and bread, but not much else. Although, Mrs. Murray recalls the people to be kind and nice. Ever since she was a youngling, she has always wanted to see Machu Picchu, after seeing it in a National Geographic magazine. However, it was visiting Giverny, France that was her favorite. It wasn’t a place she planned on seeing, but it was the most beautiful place she has gone and Mrs. Murray said, “I could have stopped at that moment and spent the rest of my life in that garden (Claude Monet’s) and been extremely happy.” Which goes to show that some of the best things we see are not always something we really planned on going to or even enjoying.

Not every reason we travel is to teach, learn or just because “why not.” It can also be because your friend is getting married elsewhere. Mr. Rogers (math teacher) travelled to Zimbabwe for that reason. He spent a month there and was able to do more things than a person who visits for a week can do, and was able to go on a safari and see most animals that we normally see in cages. He mostly stayed in bungalows and didn’t stay in the same place once the entire time. Other than the flight, he roughly spent $50 U.S. dollars in a month. Which is quite amazing, since when you travel you’ll normally spend 20x that and more. His favorite thing about being in Zimbabwe was being able to see the wild life. It was “the coolest thing” he said about being able to see animals in their natural habitat.

When you are in college, you get more opportunities to do new things. One of the options you can take up, is the option to study abroad. Mrs. Rogers (English teacher) has studied in Enkirch, Germany. Enkirch can be located in western Germany and is a small village. Mrs. Rogers was able to explore Germany in her time there and has gone to other countries; Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Mexico and Belgium. When she visited those countries, she was mostly biking through Europe, she did this twice. Her first time around, she was able to see the Tour de France in the middle. The second time, it had Lance Armstrong and she was able to see the end of the race. Being there for a year, allowed her to get use to the people and get to know some better. With one family she had met, they offered to take her along with them to a U2 concert, it was also her farewell party too. It was one of her favorite moments but the most memorable she recalled was being able to respond in German when someone asked her directions.

Mr. Myers is quite the traveler. He plans on going to Netherlands this Winter Break. The places he has gone include England, Luxembourg, France, and other parts of Western Europe. His first time being abroad was when he was 27 years old. After teaching for 3 years, he wanted a break and felt the need to ride a bike; which he did by biking around Europe. He has gone for a multitude of reasons: visiting friends, school, work and just to see art. Usually he stays for one or two weeks. He regularly visits Europe every two years. Mr. Myers enjoys art, so his favorite place to travel is Amsterdam. Amsterdam has many museums all over the city(Little known factoid… Amsterdam, per capita, has more museum space than any other European capital! Take that Paris, London, Madrid, and Berlin!!!)  and they also have very interesting architecture. The reason Mr. Myers plans on going this break is so he and his wife can see Amsterdam Light Festival. This is where artists are commissioned and are able to display light art on the canals. This is what draws him back to Amsterdam.

Of course there’s been quite a variety of countries so far but Mrs. Abarrientos has travelled around her time too. She has gone to Spain, Venezuela and Mexico. Mrs. Abarrientos was an exchange student in Spain. She visited the cathedral in Mexico city and felt a weird vibe from the history. Spain has different times when they do things. During lunch they come and take a nap, they eat around nine o’clock at night. This was different for Mrs. Abarrientos, due to how we do things in America.

Mr. Holgate has been to plenty of places, most of East Asia to be specific. The countries he’s gone to are Mexico, Australia, Bali, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Canada. Holgate lived in Victoria, Australia. He’s gone to the great barrier reef, travelled in the Nullarbor Desert (Nullarbor means no trees, the place lives up to the name.) and the far north of the country. Him and his wife took seven months to travel South-East Asia. He spent a month in Sri Lanka and from there he went to Kashmir. It took him three months to travel from Sri Lanka to there. He went to Argentina to see his daughter get married. She arranged a trip for them, starting from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires. After awhile, he taught in Switzerland. During his spring break (they had 2 weeks off) Holgate’s wife visited him, traveling to Portugal, Italy and Spain. When he travelled, Mr. Holgate had to adjust to any cultural standards they held and to a different palette of foods. It was fairly easy for him to get use to, since he is willing to try new things. While in Asia he noticed how in bigger communities, the less space you got. They also shook their heads in a way of saying yes. Here we would nod our head, rather than shake them to say “yes”. People don’t touch others with their left hand, since your left hand is to be for hygiene. His children spent their first few years in Australia and developed an accent that when they called home, not many family members could really understand. He visited the Taj Mahal and he found it beautiful. He saw it a couple times, once during the day and the other time at sunset. Holgate was amazed by the mountains in Nepal, since they were “ginormous.” It is, after all, holding the highest mountain in the world (Mt. Everest).

After talking to the teachers of Farmington High School, I learned that it’s best to visit another place with an open mind. It was something that was constantly repeated from the majority of the teachers. Mrs. Murray said that it’s better to immerse yourself in their culture because a lot of people are willing to share it with you. Being in America, a lot of us only see our own culture. We tend to be shielded from the rest of the world, in regards to how we handle a lot of our politics and our day-to-day lives. We forget how our decisions and actions reflect ourselves and can have an effect on other countries.

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Esnst Mine Bos Topen
Teachers and Their Travels