Reflection on a Symposium
This weekend has been incredible. As my "Principal Designee" partner, Stephanie, said "I have never been treated this well as a teacher, ever!" The hotel was incredible, the food was amazing, the respect that we were given from everyone involved was more than I've ever experienced. We weren't "just teachers," we were education professionals who had important things to say.
But this weekend was much more than just a nice weekend. I learned so much from the sessions that I attended and met so many fascinating people.
The session that resonated with me the most was about developing an Essential Question for travel. Why am I traveling and what do I hope to learn? This is not unlike an objective that we set for our students when we plan lessons. The obvious question was first to pop into my mind. "What is Russia like and what is the difference between Russian Schools and American ones?" Which is all well and good, but our Essential Question must be a question that we could apply to ANY country or any cultural context and should be based around a theme such as "faith," "success," "power," or "love."
I really struggled with picking a theme. I want whatever theme I choose to reflect no only my interests, but the interests of my students, because ultimately, they are the reason I'm going to Russia. The instructors assured me that these essential questions will change by nature as I develop pre-, during, and post-travel.
After "trying on" several different ideas such as immigration (many of my students are immigrants or their parents are), faith (I'm very strong in my faith), and education (because, well, I'm a teacher), I settled on the theme of Language. You can see a chart that I made that's essentially a copy of the one I scrawled out on the scratch paper they passed out.