Finally, I get around to talking about my own presentation last week.
I was a Peace Corps volunteer with my husband from 1998-2000.
My husband and I taught so many beautiful, incredible, wonderful students, some of whom never wanted to learn English at all, but in the end, they each helped us build our story and our skills, and they made our hearts that much bigger.
The commercials I remember from my younger days really are true. It is the toughest job you’ll ever love.
It was among the most difficult experiences in my life, and one of the most eye-opening journeys.
One of the greatest things about being a Peace Corps volunteer is making those personal connections. And as part of the Third Goal for Peace Corps (the first two being helping the people in the place we are stationed, and the second being learning about the culture and the people), we deliver the message back home. We tell people about what we do. And that’s a task that never ends.
I was asked to present to social studies teachers about the World Wise Schools program. Go to the site. The resources are pretty amazing. As a teacher, you can download ready-to-go lesson plans and stories; you can ask for someone to come speak at your class; or you can be matched with a volunteer for correspondence.
And all this for free.
I have spoken to students in the past and I also had my students correspond with a volunteer right after I got back from my service. I don’t now, simply because of the language proficiency levels of my students, but there are so many great things at that site.
One of my favorite lesson plans from the site is based on an essay from a volunteer in Papua New Guinea called “A Single Lucid Moment.” The essay talks about showing pictures of his hometown of Chicago to villagers. They were struck by a picture of a two homeless men. They asked what the men were doing, and the volunteer tried to explain the concept of homelessness, and the next day, the village was asking for the men to be sent there, where they could be cared for and given a place to live.
Cultural concepts run deep. And these lessons and resources can really give educators a chance to explore the idea of culture for both American-born students and others.
Check out the website. You’ll be glad you did.