Einstein Charter Schools Teacher’s Life-Changing Trip to India
NEW ORLEANS, LA: On July 4, 2017 Einstein Charter Schools teacher Alondria Bowie arrived in India, along with a cohort of teachers as part of the Teachers for Global Classrooms Program (TGC). The international trip was the culmination of the TGC program that also included a ten-week online professional development course and participation in the Global Education Symposium in Washington, D.C. in February 2017.
Over the course of 21 days Bowie visited four countries in India – Bangalore, Maharashtra, Agra and New Delhi. Arriving in India, Bowie expected the experience to show her statistical data on how children living in an impoverished country produced students who can achieve anywhere. She planned on taking the data, from a country whose population is the same as the entire U.S. population, and using it in to implement new teaching methods in her Social Studies classroom at Einstein Charter Middle. What she learned was so much more.
“I was in awe at the drive and motivation that these students had to succeed,” said Bowie. “I was truly humbled by their learning experience and the teachers who taught them and how their culture and traditions drive their scholarly community.”
Bowie observed, in crowded and hot classrooms, how the beliefs that if you are successful through life, at home and at school, you are showing the universe a higher respect. Cultural norms, such as respecting the elderly and honoring their customs and standards, are a form of this respect that India was founded on during the Indus Valley civilization.
“The teachers are the true heroes of education,” continued Bowie. “Watching them teach while enduring heat, enormous class size, being paid very little (or not at all) taught me a lot, not only about education but about the peace and ease that these group of people projected.”
“There is not any one thing that they are doing in their classrooms here that produces students who achieve despite their challenges,” said Bowie. “It is simply their culture that makes them see value in everything that they do, regardless to whether they were born into a family of wealth or poverty.”
Celebrating culture is also a part of the Einstein Charter Schools community. The cultural diversity of the classrooms in India is similar to the diversity at Einstein where the demographic make-up is 59% African-American, 21% Hispanic, 16% Asian, 1% Caucasian and 1% other.
“All staff and faculty at Einstein Charter Schools celebrate, foster and embrace our diversity,” said Einstein Chief Executive Officer Shawn Toranto. “We are so proud of Ms. Bowie for her selection to this program and even more proud of the inspiration she has brought back to share with her colleagues.”
Bowie calls the journey “one of the best experiences in my life” and plans to implement what she learned not just in her daily classroom, but also in her daily life.
Bowie kept a daily blog of the course of the journey as part of the program. You can read her blog and find additional information at http://glocallearnerstgc20116.weebly.com/india-travel-blog.
Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC) is a yearlong professional development program for elementary, middle and high school teachers aimed at globalizing teaching and learning in U.S. classrooms. The goal of the program is to provide K-12 teachers with the opportunity to explore the themes and applications for global education in their classrooms, school and community. TGC is funded by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by IREX, an international nonprofit providing innovative programs to promote lasting global change. Bowie was one of the 76 teachers who were chosen from over 400 applicants across 47 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Bowie poses with a class of students at Pune Police Public School Primary and Secondary Schools in Maharashtra, India City of Pune, a school dedicated to the children of police officers so that when they graduate they automatically enter the police force.
In Maharashtra, at a Village School in Kalamb. “The girls at this school truly inspired me, many of them are striving to come to the U.S,” said Bowie. “One of the girls hopes to work for NASA and the other wants to be a part of the FBI.”