David Hughes is in Year 5 of the Global Teaching Partners program. Originally from England, UK, he has been working as a 3rd-grade teacher at Dixon Elementary in Onslow County Schools. We asked him to talk about his experiences as a Global Educator, and this is what he had to say:
“As an experienced global teacher as well as an accomplished classroom teacher I feel I have a lot to offer colleagues and have the potential to inspire others to become outstanding global educators, either in their home countries or here in North Carolina.
Being a Global Teacher is making sure students have the foundation to be prepared for the 21st Century beyond their school life. I want to inspire students and colleagues to explore and adventure and in order to best do that a skillset is required consisting of more than academic knowledge. Celebrating cultural diversity and communication skills are key.
I have used current affairs and relevant ‘realistic fiction’ texts to introduce cultural concepts in the classroom. Discussions around the Black Lives Matter movement were connected to Martin Luther King Jr, the Civil Rights Movement, and Nelson Mandela and apartheid in South Africa. The impact of war, terrorism, refugees and immigration were considered through age-appropriate texts ‘The Boy at the Back of the Class’ and ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom’.
I have taken every opportunity to incorporate cultural references to the United Kingdom – some planned and some opportunistic! Every spelling ‘error’, mispronunciation or use of an English term was discussed with students! Linking personal experiences to teaching is also key to sharing my culture and identity. By making connections between places and historical events such as the Hartlepool Monkey Legend and Blackbeard’s escapades off the Carolina coast, it allowed students to relate to real-life concepts rather than things remaining abstract.
Connecting to the world around us begins by connecting to the people closest to us. Students develop communication skills between their peers, other (older and younger) students in school as well as various members of staff. I hold discussion forums where students set their own protocols to develop in-person conversation and communication.
I lead my students into communicating in the digital world which is increasingly important in today’s global world. What begins as commenting on a peer’s recorded book review, evolves into live zoom calls with a classroom 3000 miles away. I am giving my 8-9 year old students the foundations of skills which will be essential in their lives, academically, professionally, and socially, in the 21st Century.
Together with all the global teachers, we are already ambassadors of our home countries within the United States and representatives of Global Teaching Partners within our schools and districts. I feel I am a positive and professional role model to students and colleagues and I would have an important part to play to inspire and motivate others.
By sharing my experiences and knowledge, successes and challenges,
I would be able to raise the profile of global education further. That could be for current or potential teachers, both here and internationally, in person or digitally through social media and other online platforms.”