I have been lucky enough to travel a fair amount on my own and in my career as an educator. After this trip, I will have been on all but two continents on Earth and have two tennis grand slam events left to see in person. As I write this, I am in Oxford, UK and actually have a minute to sit and write. I left Canada for this vacation on the evening of the last day of school and won’t be back until early August. Over the past few days, I have been contacted by a number of former students and colleagues after they saw pictures I have posted on social media. Most comments stated how they miss Europe (from trips I took them on in the past), and others tell of plans they have to go back and practice what they learned on our school trips.
So what is so great about travelling? What can be learned when travelling, as a student or an educator?
You must make decisions and live with them.
You must find your way through problem solving in a real environment, not an abstract one.
You must adjust your behaviour to those around you.
You must manage your money.
You must manage time.
You must learn about other cultures.
You will learn to deal with inconveniences.
You will surely need to adapt to the foreign and constantly changing surroundings.
You will surely learn about yourself.
Over the past few days, I have seen so many young school-aged kids touring around and learning. I sometimes wonder if the Canadian education system should be more like that of Japan and other countries where students must travel internationally to graduate from secondary education? Obviously there are many factors that must be considered. Learning in a real environment enriches me every time and recharges my batteries to return to teaching the following September. There really is something great about being able to switch roles and be a learner that makes me excited to switch back and be an educator again.