Breaking Down the Walls by Sean Forde

Find out how Sean became a Global Educator and get inspired.

Eight years in education seems short to most, however in my eight years in elementary education, these thirty-one year old eyes have seen a lot! I have had the amazing opportunity to experience three completely different styles of education over this time. My first three years were spent in a public school just south of Phoenix, Arizona in a town called Casa Grande. Being fresh out of college, I was eager to jump in and make learning fun and integrate technology, however and whenever I could. With that being said, it does make it difficult with only one projector in the whole school. Along with this very warm and bright clunky thing that you apparently had to put plastic paper on...still trying to Ask Jeeves what in the world that thing was. Needless to say, the combination of 28 second graders, no support, and it being my first three years in the teaching game. There wasn't a whole lot of integration and attempting to break down walls.
Following my first three years, I decided to a risk and a leap of faith. That leap took me 400 miles Northwest of Anchorage, Alaska, to the beautiful Yup'ik village of Russian Mission. Coming from a city of nearly 40,000 people and seeing very little technology, the bar was set fairly low. Little did I know that a new hire orientation in Anchorage would open my eyes and change my whole outlook and drive towards my educational practices. An introduction to CILC and a trip to Reef HQ in Australia was the small piece of snow that was needed to start the snowball effect of where I am today. Using programs like CILC, and not taking what your students might know for granted, will help you break down those classroom walls and introduce them to the global classroom that is today. Who knew that a small fly in-fly out village of only 320 people would open my eyes to how to create a globally connected classroom and provide endless opportunities for my students. This was where I was able explore the reaches of CILC, Skype in the Classroom, and start my first year of Flat Stanley (email edition).
Now with a master's degree in Edtech and a whole new outlook on life, you can find me as a second grade teacher and tech integration lead at Chadwick International in Songdo, South Korea. This comes from a guy who went to St. Cloud State University, because it was close to home in Montevideo, Minnesota. Taking that job in Arizona was even a stretch for my comfort level. I have broken down my own walls as an educator. Never assume something isn't obtainable. Never not apply because you THINK it won't happen. Maybe, it's a volunteer trip to Africa that opens your eyes to teaching internationally and giving you the courage to take the leap, like it did for me. It might even be sharing pictures of a trip into Anchorage and a student in your village making a connection to the Taco Bell sign, not because he ate there, but because he saw that sign before. Global educators are risk takers and are willing to leap, but they are also willing to fail. As you grow your globally minded classrooms and begin swinging that sledgehammer to your classroom walls, you need to be ready to fail, to struggle, to be frustrated. With that being said, you will see the lights and smiles beam on your students' faces when those connections are made.
I may have rambled and jumped around, but the moral of the story is: take risks, get messy, and have fun! The smiles, experiences, and areas you will reach, will be worth every ounce you put into it. Swing away and have fun!

Sean Forde
Twitter: @Sean4d

Sean Forde | 8/23/2016 10:53:41 AM | 1 comments
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