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How Traveling Develops Teachers

This article was originally written for Gerber Tours.

Teaching, obviously, is a career. However, in the right hands, it’s also a gift. By teaching, educators bestow knowledge. As they say, “Knowledge is power.” Therefore, like superheroes, teachers can imbue power upon students that can fuel greatness for a lifetime. Just about every successful person can point back to one educator and say, “they opened doors for me.”

As the American historian Henry Brooks Adams once said, “A teacher affects eternity; he (or she) can never tell where his (or her) influence stops.” At Gerber Tours, we believe that teachers are the most under appreciated, crucial members of society. Whether it’s the diminutive salary, lack of societal prestige, or proper tools, we believe that teachers deserve more.

That’s why at Gerber Tours we help teachers become more complete educators. We realize that’s a tall order, but we have the track record to back it up. In our experience, traveling ranks as the best way for teachers to improve at their craft. Gerber Tours has been helping teachers travel on their incommensurate salaries for years. Here’s how traveling can make you a better teacher.

Back to Basics:

“He (or She) who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” - Unknown

Continual routine, of any kind, can lead to stagnation. The same material, same workplace: such repetitiveness can breed lethargy. That repetitive stupor can also make it difficult for teachers to see the forest from the trees.

By traveling to a previously unknown part of the world, where the language, the culture, even the food is completely foreign, you’ll be forced to pay attention. You’ll also find yourself in uncomfortable positions where you need to learn again, even if they are simple things like how to get around a strange city or the basics of a foreign language.

The best teachers can make even the hardest lessons seem easy and understandable. Yet, sometimes as a teacher, you lose the ardor of learning without experiencing it from the other side. Traveling serves as an enjoyable reminder of how hard even the simplest tasks can become when you don’t know the answer.

In the simplest terms, becoming a student can conversely make you a better teacher. In the same way teaching something helps you understand it better. The best teachers truly never stop learning and traveling has a way of reminding you how little you actually know.

Gaining a New Perspective

“A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on a cold iron.” - Horace Mann

Traveling is not the only way to learn or see life from another perspective. However, we think it’s the most effective way. Divergent viewpoints come from new experiences. Unfortunately, in the United States people are more focused on talking past each other as opposed to with each other.

By traveling to another part of the world, you’ll see the United States and the world with fresh eyes. Other countries govern and live in bizarre and wildly different ways. You might think that’s the dumbest idea in the world or ask why don’t we do it that way? Traveling offers a fresh perspective at every turn.

The newfound context that traveling bequeaths simultaneously creates a more well-rounded person and a more effective teacher. Now, if your students find a lesson boring or they struggle to see how it might be relevant in their lives, you’ll have ammunition to share and alien ideas to impart. Teaching is as much about passing on knowledge as it is inspiring young minds with the desire to learn.

Context and Communication

“The world of knowledge takes a crazy turn when teachers themselves are taught to learn.” - Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) German writer.

Textbooks, regardless of how well they are thought out, don’t impart inspiration. They struggle to convey the real world value of the information they contain. For instance, history is fascinating, yet most students would tell you that reading about the pyramids doesn’t get them very amped. However, if they were to watch a documentary of the pyramids, their attention spans magically grow.

That sadly reflects the power of TV. But it also reveals the power of visuals. They more effectively transmit the reality of the environment. That is the argument for traveling. If a teacher actually went to the pyramids and can share a personal story about an exotic locale, students suddenly have questions. Chances are they will have thousands of questions, not only about the pyramids but of Egypt, the people and experiences that you had first-hand.

The World Beyond Smartphones

Today, students naturally challenge authority. “Well how do you know, you’ve never done this or been there.” They value real-world experience as much as anyone. That’s why every Tinder profile raves about traveling.

Certainly, the goal isn’t necessarily to be “the cool” teacher. However, real life experiences go a long way in giving you credibility in their eyes. That, in turn, will make teaching them much easier. A 2002 study backed that up, concluding that a globally minded teacher is a more effective communicator.

Teachers, we believe, are pivotal to the health of a country. We think that empathy for one’s fellow human ranks at an all-time low. Education remains the salve for some of our problems.

That is why at Gerber Tours we do everything in our power to help teachers and educators enjoy their summers, see the world, and return to their students the best version of themselves. We’re firm believers that the more we can become a global community, the better off we’ll all be. And who better to start the trend of global thinking than the vital teachers who are tasked with educating the future leaders of this world.

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