Teachers are lifelong learners, and opportunities for professional development can exist in surprising places.
Three years ago, Waterbury teacher Ali Kirchberger traveled to Greece as part of a Fund for Teachers fellowship and participated in a creativity workshop that continues to inform her practice. This past summer, an innovation grant allowed her to complete Breathe4Change social emotional learning/yoga facilitator training, and most recently Kirchberger was awarded a year-long NEA Global Learning Fellowship that culminates in a field study in South Africa.
Why not consider designing your own professional learning experience?
Each year, the Fund for Teachers makes possible transformational learning that takes teachers to places all over the world (or close to home) to learn new things and bring that knowledge back to their classrooms. One of the nation’s largest investors in teacher learning and leadership, the fund helps educators enrich their practice, support student success, and strengthen their schools and communities.
Teachers design their own fellowship programs based on what they want to learn and do, and FFT provides grants of up to $5,000 for individual educators, or $10,000 for teams. With FFT grants, teachers have traveled to 152 countries on every continent, where they are empowered to explore ideas, terrains, and cultures that are new to them. Since 2001, the fund has awarded $25 million to 9,000 teachers.
When Uncasville teacher Kate McCarney traveled to the Czech Republic to learn about puppetry—something she has used with her kindergartners—she returned with unexpected lessons about what it means to be a struggling learner.
Branford English teacher Christian Miller immersed himself in the natural landscapes and historical sites of England, Scotland, and France that are sources of inspiration for much of the literature he teaches.
Interested in creating your own professional growth opportunity?
Ask yourself, how would I like to improve my students’ learning experience? Think about who your students are, what they struggle with, what inspires or engages them, what you want to learn, and how it could strengthen your teaching.
Get inspired by searching other projects at fundforteachers.org/teachers and apply for a grant to do your own work at fundforteachers.org or neafoundation.org/for-educators/global-learning-fellowship/.
The Fund for Teachers application deadline is January 17, 2022, and applications to join the 2023 NEA Global Learning cohort must be submitted by March 1, 2022.