Teachers emerge from the Global Teachers program with new global knowledge, state-wide professional networks, and fresh ideas for the classroom that continue to evolve.
The Impact on Teachers
In 2016, Go Global NC reached out to Global Teachers alumni to gain insight into program impact. This outreach provided firsthand accounts and details on the depth and breadth of impact from participation in the program. Below is a summary of the major areas of impact.
The effects on the Global Teachers Fellows are as numerous and diverse as the teachers who take part. Participating in the Global Teachers program opens possibilities for teachers, students, and the greater school communities for years after participation.
Creating Global Stewards: Awakens Teachers' and Students' Excitement and Engagement
Teaches who can offer firsthand perspectives can gain higher levels of credibility with their students. When a teacher applies their personal experience with global challenges, different cultures, or the effects of history around the world, teaching is enlivened and carries a new relevance in the classroom.
The enthusiasm that teachers project is infectious and often leads to increased enthusiasm from students as well. Global Teachers reported that they had an enhanced ability to understand the perspectives of others (87%) and greater confidence in teaching and discussing global issues in the classroom (76%).
"The [curriculum] unit I created to broaden their own perspectives began with students making predictions of the images and stories of the events. Then they researched the actual location to uncover social bias and stereotypes as well as cultural facts and history. This started in their own home/neighborhood/community/region, went across the globe to India and came full circle to increase tolerance and understanding here at home."
- Lorraine Kasyan, Buncombe County, India 2013
Global Teachers - India 2013
Expanding School Opportunities: Introducing Globally Focused Programs
The experiential learning and global relationships formed during Global Teachers programs create opportunities for teachers to develop globally focused programs, activities, and events for their school communities upon returning to North Carolina. Common examples include the introduction of: virtual or travel-based exchanges with a school in another country, new strategic language offerings, teacher exchanges, and globally relevant courses and clubs.
"I created a new course - International Studies. I have taken four groups of students to our partner school and hosted as they came here each year. It enhanced the cross-curriculum studies within our school as well as inspired other teachers and administrators to use partnerships."
- Sonya Rinehart, Edgecombe County, Denmark 2009
Engaging Rural Communities: Increasing Global Opportunities in Rural Areas
Teachers and students in smaller, more rural, or less wealthy counties often do not have access to the opportunities that students in larger, more metropolitan, or more wealthy districts may have. It is a challenge to find support for outstanding teachers in these school districts, as these counties rarely have education foundations, chambers of commerce, or large businesses that could support global opportunities for teachers.
Teachers in smaller, more rural districts who study abroad have an outsized impact on students, teachers, and the community. They expose students to the wider world - something that is more common in larger districts. In smaller districts there is greater opportunity for the transfer of skills and knowledge from teacher to teacher, and teachers have the potential to encourage a county-wide shift in priorities because of their knowledge and influence.
Furthermore, providing teachers from rural counties with the opportunity for global study is another tool for retaining strong teachers who are often lured away to nearby counties and states that can offer them more financial opportunities.
"I learned more about myself. I stepped out of my comfort zone to leave the country for the first time without anyone I knew. I felt free to grow and learn. I now see this as an opportunity for my students in a rural setting to stop putting limits on themselves."
- Annah Creech, Johnston County, Germany 2014
Retaining Teachers: Providing Energy to Reinvigorate Teachers
Given a number of factors, North Carolina is losing many talented teachers annually and applicants to the UNC System's 13 schools of education have decreased, jeopardizing the teacher pipeline.
The Global Teachers Fellowship can be a powerful retention tool that increases the probability that the best and brightest of the state’s teaching workforce remains in North Carolina education.
The Global Teachers Fellowship can reignite talented teachers’ passion for teaching. 100% of previous participants surveyed agree that their participation in the Global Teachers program gave them new energy and ideas to bring back to their classrooms.
"I traveled with Go Global NC in my 15th year of teaching - the halfway point in my career - and it provided me with a reinvigorating spark for the second half of my career. I am now seeking my Global Educator Digital Badge, and global education has become the guiding principle of the latter half of my teaching life. Retaining teachers is, of course, a priority in North Carolina, and the Global Teachers program can go one further; it can retain better, reinvigorated, globally-minded teachers who can then return to their schools and share their experiences with their colleagues and students."
- Matt Scialdone, Wake County, South Africa 2016
Integrating STEM Subjects Beyond the Classroom: Making It Come Alive
All Go Global NC Global Teachers programs include strong science, technology, education, and math (STEM) content, incorporating different applications of STEM principles and demonstrating how they may be integrated into North Carolina schools.
If a participant is a STEM teacher, the global experience brings their subject alive. If a participant is an English, art, or physical education teacher, for example, they often expand STEM content throughout the school curriculum - beyond the STEM classroom.
"After traveling to Germany with Go Global NC and witnessing firsthand how both Germany and North Carolina have rapidly growing solar energy industries, I was charged to help students make meaningful connections between their lives and solar energy. We competed, and won the high school division, in a solar schools' competition. Throughout the competition, students were inspired by Germany and advancements in solar energy while also developing a sense of hope in our future. My experience in Germany was the seed for this entire experience."
- Sarah Duffer, Asheville City Schools, Germany 2014
Comparing Educational Systems: Learning From Our International Neighbors
One of the biggest challenges in the teaching profession is isolation. Too many teachers are limited by the walls of the classroom and seldom, if ever, have a chance to rejuvenate their approach to teaching. When teachers have a chance to watch each other, ask questions, and compare their own practices to those of international peers, their ability to reach students broadens.
Teachers who study abroad see radically different approaches to education, from specific modes of instruction to overarching educational policies. These strong departures from the ordinary lead to new insights. 95.4% of Global Teachers alumni surveyed agree that their knowledge of global education allowed them to bring new dynamics to their teaching methods.
"The greatest benefit is for my students. When I challenge them to become globally minded, it is because I saw firsthand the far-reaching benefits of learning multiple languages, being environmentally conscious on a global scale, making applications locally, and getting the very best education available."
- Carolina Bethea-Brown, Haywood County, South Africa 2016
Global Teachers - South Africa 2016
Ongoing Professional Development: Offering a Transformational Learning Experience
The Global Teachers experience pushes teachers beyond their comfort zones by studying in an unfamiliar country and culture. Teachers internalize what they see, and their experience becomes a part of who they are; it gives them confidence and courage often not previously recognized.
Through thoughtful structure, the program provides a safe environment for teachers to stretch and explore new ideas and shine professionally. Many teachers call this program the best professional development experience of their careers.
"The program to India was one of the formative moments in my entire teaching career. Personally, it opened my heart and mind to a deeper understanding of people who are different from me, and yet, in so many ways, the same. Professionally, the trip built relationships that endure to this day."
- Bill Worley, Johnston County, India 2013
Global Teachers - India 2013
The Impact on Communities: The Ripple Effect
In addition to the teachers themselves, the cumulative impact of a study abroad experience is felt by other stakeholders in North Carolina. The benefits of the Global Teachers Fellowship will continue to grow and nurture a state of global citizenry.
Students are excited about the raw energy a teacher brings to the classroom during and after their program experience. They have an increased curiosity because their teacher tells stories and shares real-life experiences that make the world come alive.
A student from a far-western North Carolina county remarked he was being taught by a teacher “who had seen the other side of the world.” Another teacher shared: “...even my jaded high school kids get silent when I talk about other countries and other schools around the world.”
"The school year after my trip, two of my classes participated in a collaborative seminar on poverty with the students I spent much time with in India. It was so successful in joining our students together that the principal in the India school came to visit my students in person."
- Melinda Simons, Johnston County, India 2013
Parents see firsthand the impact of global learning on their children through increased interest in current events and interest in travel abroad. Karen Kreitzburg, Global Teacher from Waynesville Middle School in Haywood County, studied abroad and was motivated to take students abroad every year with parents.
In addition, teachers gain confidence in reaching out to foreign-born parents, because they themselves have experienced being a minority person who doesn't speak the language.
"Parents and community stakeholders learned about the world and different cultures by attending our annual end of the year global art shows. They viewed student-created projects on world cultures and issues, and heard students discuss their global learning and personal interactions with students in other parts of the world during our art classes."
- Cicely Mason, Cherokee County, China 2018
School Administrators, Principals, and Superintendents
Teachers who receive this prestigious Fellowship often advance to become administrators, principals, and superintendents. As education policy leaders, they then advocate for global education and encourage the infusion of global content in the classroom.
"In a time when we are all more connected than ever, the importance of global understanding and interactions is now an integral element of the basic education for our students, communities and our country. The educational experiences for students today are not confined to the school building, but are connected to learning from others in multiple locations, languages, and disciplines."
- Dr. Kathy Spencer, Retired Superintendent of Onslow County Schools
Global Teachers alumni are required to share their experience beyond the classroom. They give presentations at PTA meetings, school board meetings, church gatherings, civic clubs, or town halls. The community hears from “one of their own” and can become more appreciative of diversity and differences. Sharing the uniqueness - as well as the sameness - of other countries and cultures can help a community evolve towards being more understanding of other cultures.
"I grew up in a small town, and we had a fellowship night at my home church and I was the guest speaker. I wore my Ghanaian outfit that my (Ghanaian) host teacher gave me. I had a display and gave a presentation about the Ghanaian culture. This is a white community, out in the country. So, it was cool that they were interested."
- Marcella Cox, Wake County, Ghana 2005
The NC Department of Commerce, regional economic development centers, and local chambers of commerce constantly strive to recruit businesses to North Carolina and create jobs. When a foreign-owned company analyzes prospective locations for a new facility, it considers many factors. Consistently sending teachers abroad indicates a commitment to educate students ready to compete in the global economy.
"As Secretary of the NC Department of Commerce, I found that when a foreign-owned company analyzes prospective locations for a new facility, it considers many factors. A primary - if not the number one - consideration in its decision is the availability of a skilled, well-trained workforce. They want to know if the state and the locality are committed to and invested in the education and the preparation of its students with the requisite skills and global perspective to drive that company's success. Competition among states is keen, and the existence of a Global Teachers Fellowship will give North Carolina a competitive edge that no other state has."
- Jim Fain, Former NC Secretary of Commerce, 2001-2008
NC Government and Industry Leaders - Japan 2016
Rural and Urban Business Leaders
North Carolina is home to many home-grown global businesses, international headquarters of foreign-owned companies, and multi-national businesses. These global businesses seek a globally astute workforce comfortable operating in the world economy. The Global Teachers Fellowship helps North Carolina create globally competent graduates who can find prosperity in their own backyards.
"In rural counties, it is common that one of the largest employers is schools, and those school teachers are influential community leaders. Teachers that have a broad view of the world inspire their students to think critically and become lifelong learners. In order to excite and inspire our future generations, our teachers must have meaningful global experiences. These experiences prepare them to lead their classrooms with real life global examples that will in turn better prepare our rural students for jobs that involve a global economy. The North Carolina Farm Bureau has collaborated with Go Global NC for several years. Our leaders have been participants on their programs, so I know from firsthand experience that the programs they provide are powerful and relevant. We need global programs such as those offered through Go Global NC available for our teachers."
- Larry Wooten, Former President, NC Farm Bureau
"Today’s society is a big global village more interconnected than any other time in history. With the exponential growth in connectivity of the Internet and social media networks, our students are more exposed to other cultures than ever before. Companies like AT&T today are looking for talent that is multilingual and can collaborate in teams with members from other countries and cultures. When teachers come back home from the Global Teachers experience, they bring a unique asset that makes our state more competitive for businesses and grow good paying jobs here. I applaud Go Global NC for 26 years of taking teachers abroad and making North Carolina a better state to live, work and prosper."
- Carlos Sanchez, Executive Director of External Affairs AT&T