Traveling Can Actually Improve Your Teaching

August 8, 2018

Do you remember the sense of adventure you felt the first time you went on a big trip to somewhere far away?

The excitement of planning and imagining a vacation abroad.
The butterflies in your stomach, counting down the days.
The rush of grabbing your bags and heading toward a brand new experience.

It’s easy to grow up and become a “cynical traveler,” but the truth is, traveling remains one of the most exhilarating things you can experience, and its benefits seem boundless. But before listing a few, let’s first ask: What are the QUALITIES of a great teacher?

  • Educated? Surely. You can’t teach something you do not know.
  • Kind and congenial? Absolutely. It is very hard to demonstrate kindness to a disruptive student, but it is impossible for an uncaring teacher to make a difference.
  • Communicates well? Yes, a teacher with great communication skills will more effectively convey their lessons with greater ease, triggering their student’s curiosity and enthusiasm.
  • A good listener? It is what transforms a decent teacher into a great one. As the old proverb says: “If speaking is silver, then listening is GOLD.”

So with these few traits in mind, we return to our theme and ask: How can travel strengthen you as a teacher?

  1. Improves your communication & creativity
    Traveling to countries where you don’t speak the language can help you learn how to communicate creatively. This is a shockingly-powerful skill, especially when trying to explain something to a student struggling to understand.
  2. Broadens your perspective
    Talking to people from different origins has a uniquely beneficial side-effect: It often reveals and expels all our little prejudices and assumptions. It can give you different lenses through which to view and resolve all manner of classroom challenges.
  3. Increases your sense of well-being
    No matter how much you love your life, traveling forces you into a break from routine. This can be refreshing, and inspire new thoughts. At the very least, it’ll help you appreciate what you have back home in a new way! In either case, you return to the job with recharged passion and renewed patience.
  4. Strengthens your confidence
    Beyond books and past academic understanding, traveling requires you to step outside of your world, to engage in a different way with different people, a different culture and geography; This can be a profound catalyst to personal growth, and thus to your confidence and power as an educator.

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