Wyoming Education Association

Fall 2016

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BACK TO SCHOOL | WEAnews 12 Great Things Happen Everyday Editor's Note: Dirk Andrews, a WEA member from Evansville Elementary School in Casper, was the Wyoming recipient of the 2015 NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education's (NFIE) Award for Teaching Excellence, additionally receiving the Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence, $10,000, and recognition as one of the nation's top five educators. Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list since I did a project on the country in the sixth grade, but growing up in Wyoming, I never thought I would get the opportunity to visit such an amazing place. I knew I would have an amazing experience, but I've been surprised by how much it has inspired me to teach my students and peers about what it means to be globally competent. The sightseeing was a highlight of the trip, but the lessons I learned will stay with me forever. The first lesson I learned was that it is essential to honor a country's culture, particularly the language. Working in an English Language Learner (ELL) school, I have always found a value in honoring students' native language; however, I was not properly prepared to communicate with the Peruvians on my trip. Before I ever travel abroad again, I want to ensure that I learn the language as a sign of respect for the country I visit. The second lesson I learned was the importance public education plays around the world. Peru is the lowest-performing school system in the world, yet they are trying anything and everything to get their students up to the same level as the rest of the world. In Lima, I visited a school that was similar to what we would call a boarding school. The school

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