Often times people overlook the fact that all teaching doesn't have to take place in the class room. In fact, your child can benefit greatly from real world experiences.
I recently had the opportunity to interview 2012 Washington , DC Teacher of the Year (and mother of NINE kids), Perea Brown-Blackmon. We discussed the how children benefit from traveled whether its abroad, or just in your home state. Children can benefit from travel even if it's second hand through the experiences of their parents and teachers. In the below interview Perea Brown-Blackmon discusses ways parents can teach their children while traveling outside of the traditional resources.
(Transcript of Interview)
Q: What are some examples of things you've done in your teaching career that have helped shape you into an award winning teacher?
A: Some of the things I've done in my teaching career that have helped shaped me into becoming the District of Columbia 2012 teacher of the year are that I have planned lessons in my classroom that have incorporated all kinds of things like animals, such as my Madagascar hissing cockroaches. I've also taken my children on 'going out' experiences that brought them cultural awareness within my city. I've taken them on field trips that were during the summer time, or on the weekends... on times away from school. And I've also dug deep into extracurricular activities which incorporated parents and everyone else into what I was doing in my classroom.
Q: What do you think teachers gain from traveling that will help them in their career, and how do their students gain from those experiences?
A: Children, parents, and teachers will benefit from travel because what traveling does is open up your eyes to different aspects of the world- things that you wouldn't read about in books. Things that you can actually get first hand knowledge of- then you can bring that back to the classroom, and share it with your students... and it opens up all these questions to them that they pose to you. For example, I had the opportunity to visit some of the Mayan ruins, and when came back I had the opportunity to explain to the kids how big the plants and roots were, or that I actually got to feed and swim with sting rays, the kids just looked at me with pure excitement because kids at that age, their minds are just a sponge absorbing everything that you give them, and what that does is make them want to get out there and explore. So, as a teacher, the benefits of traveling are just unbelievable. So through the Hilton Honors Teacher Treks programs, the teachers are going to have the opportunity to travel to a country of their choice this summer. 15 teachers are actually going to get the experience of a lifetime, and then they are going to have schools that even if you aren't one of the 15 finalists, there are going to be 30 grants that are sent to schools to help them with travel within their building. I just can’t employ you enough to apply for this wonderful opportunity through Hilton Honors.
Q: How can parents create the ultimate family field trip which is both educational and fun?
A: When parents go to plan field trips for their kids during the summer months, or the holiday seasons or what have you, they always need to keep in mind that everything they do is a learning experience for their children, whether it's going to the beach where they can explore sea life and animals or whether it's Washington DC where they can explore the museum or visit the White House- they always have to have an objective in mind and just give children the chance to explore anything and everything. So in planning those field trips, make it fun, make it cultural at all times, and make if fun every minute.
Q: If a family has a limited budget, what are some general places you can recommend in a local area for kids to learn outside of a classroom setting?
A: Now we know that family budgets are sometimes very slim, and some of the places that we'd like to take our kids on field trips can be out of our reach, so when you're planning field trips- think about the places that are local. Where are there museums in the city? Take them to IMAX theaters showing films about history. Take them anywhere locally- ponds, lakes, there are so many places you can take them that won’t hurt that budget too much. Some of the more expensive ones- plan for those long term. But in your community- make sure they get out... I can't tell you how many kids in my classroom had never been to a museum, and they live right here in DC. Make it a point to explore everything in your city, no matter how big or small.
Q: In order for families to have a successful teaching/travel experience, do you think it's more effective to have things structured and scheduled out, or would you recommend going with the flow for wherever you end up in those teachable moments?
A: I believe that families' travel experiences should start out being structured- you should know exactly where you're going, the time that you're going to spend- however you don't always have to stick to a schedule- nothing is ever concrete. If you get there and you find something that interets you, move to the left a little bit, do not limit yourself with anything that you do. Say that you take a trip to Myrtle Beach SC and you are just going for the beach- then you get down there and you realize they have an alligator exhibit- was that on your scheduled plan? Maybe not, but make sure you incorporate anything and everything that you fall upon- because that’s s teaching!
Q: Where can we go for more information on Teacher Treks?
A: For more information on the Teacher Treks program, you can visit their website at HHonors.com/TeacherTreks (that's honors with two h's). You'll find all the information you need to submit your application to win this fabulous chance of a lifetime!
Learn more here about Teacher Treks program