It’s been a while, but JRNEY is back ready to start a new school year with new stories and new perspectives on education around the world.
Several years ago, I went on sabbatical. I wanted to sound professional when I left my job in Amsterdam, but in reality, I was burnt out and had no intention of ever going back to teaching. In my mind I was done with education. I decided I wanted to write a book, travel the world, take some time off, all the things that everyone talks about. And that’s exactly what I did. I drafted a middle years novel, started a travel blog, and picked up freelance jobs to make a little money while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.
While the travel blog is still living online, I haven’t updated it in years. I’ve thought about dusting it off and writing again to share what I’m doing with family and friends, but I’ve stalled. You see, about a week and a half ago, I started a new chapter in my life as a global educator. I moved to Beijing, where I’ll be off and on for most of this year, maybe more. The difference this time is that I’m not actually working here. I’m still consulting, speaking and traveling as a global educator, I just happen to spend most of my time in Asia.
I’ve been struggling to figure out how to write about my current “adventure,” as I like to call it, in China. JRNEY is not a travel blog, so stories of how I attempt to learn Mandarin or navigate a new grocery store and transportation system aren’t right for this space, but I can’t help but feel like I’m missing an opportunity. This experience I’m having, living in a new country surrounded by a new language and way of life, is some of the best kind of learning there is. Teachers all over the world move to new countries and start new lives, and while it may sound glamorous, sometimes it’s just hard. They have to be teachers while they are learning to navigate a new culture. And students all over the world do it too only with less life experience to draw from and often times with trauma to go along with it.
How do we balance the role of teacher and learner? And how can we provide support and be open to others supporting us?