As the school year comes to an end, there is much to celebrate – student growth, academic achievements, the culmination of another successful school year and, of course, the teachers.
This year, Participate Learning recognized three outstanding teachers as the Teachers of the Year for their dedication to incorporating global concepts, innovative teaching practices, and formation of the next generation of global leaders. The three teachers were surprised at school and awarded by fellow colleagues, school staff, and Participate Learning representatives.
Meet the teachers!
Casey Collins, music teacher at Eastlawn Elementary in Burlington, N.C.
Why does Casey Collins enjoy being a global music teacher? For her it’s simple: providing students with authentic, engaging, cultural experiences.
“I get to deliver the world to my students every day,” Casey said. “I have the unique opportunity to travel the entire world with my students in each grade level, and learn about the intricacies of each culture while celebrating the rich diversity already present in the school environment.”
Casey was recognized for bringing global concepts into music class, as her passion for taking global education beyond core subject instruction is both admirable and inspiring. She said student success is at the core of education, and she wants her students to feel comfortable and engaged in their learning processes.
“I consider my greatest achievement while working with Participate to be the observation of my students becoming global leaders, eager to learn more about other cultures and regions,” Casey said.
Katie Gourlay, third grade teacher at Stough Elementary in Raleigh, N.C.
Global education is a way of life for Katie Gourlay, the experienced teacher who has taught in three continents. Katie said experiencing the world brought her so much excitement that she wanted to ignite that same passion in her students. She infuses her lessons with personal experiences from previously teaching abroad and real-world issues such as the Sustainable Development Goals.
Katie was recognized for her commitment to equitable education and providing authentic learning experiences for all students. She said it’s important to ensure that we are providing culturally responsive instruction and resources for all students, and it was through this passion that she co-founded an equity committee for her school. Katie wants to build relationships and meet students where they are in their learning journeys.
“What we do in our classrooms today are opportunities to impact the future,” Katie said. “As students enter an increasingly globally competitive work and education environment, it is important that we equip them with the skills and experiences that will help them to become compassionate and responsible citizens as they progress through life.”
Jhonatan Marin, third grade ambassador teacher at Howard Hall Elementary in Fayetteville, N.C.
Jhonatan Marin opens doors to a new world for his students. Not only does he introduce other cultures to his students but, as a Spanish dual language ambassador teacher, Jhonatan introduces a new language to his students.
“I consider teaching a way of living,” Jhonatan said. “There will be moments of joy and sadness, achievement and failure, frustration and certainty, but all of that aimed at our own growth as professionals and human beings.”
Jhonatan’s students love learning. Because of Jhonatan’s enthusiastic personality and passion for teaching, his students are inspired to share what they learn with others. He is recognized for always putting students first and for making every experience a learning opportunity.
“We need to shape the future of our nations and instill empathy in our students,” Jhonatan said. “Dual language citizens must avoid considering people from other places as their competitors, or somebody to learn about. They instead need to see them as somebody to learn with, and who can help them evolve in their ways of thinking or see life.”
Congratulations to the teachers
“We are thrilled to honor Katie, Casey and Jhonatan for their commitment to integrating global and cultural education into their classrooms,” said Participate Learning CEO David Young. “These three educators are exemplary models for Participate Learning’s goal of empowering students to engage with the world around them and impact their communities on a global scale. We look forward to continuing to support them as they work to develop curious young minds and future agents of change.”
Participate Learning would like to congratulate each educator for their dedication to forming the next generation of global leaders. Because of their hard work and passion for education, every student who walks through their doors feels welcomed, encouraged, and challenged to learn and grow.
Find out more about what our teachers are doing for global education.