It’s hard not to get past the excitement that I am traveling to another country as a tourist. To think about duomos, and leaning towers, and pasta, and wine.
But I am going on a study tour. I am being given an opportunity that is much bigger than taking pictures and eating Italian food.
I am being given an opportunity to be in a place where education isn’t just a job or a necessity. It is a movement. What makes it a movement? What makes their ideas so revolutionary and their practices so important that people come to study and pore over their documentation and visit from across the country? What are the defining principles?
How is their culture similar to ours? How is it different? I can’t pick up their school, their teachers, their philosophy, place it in Portland, Oregon and expect it to be smooth like butter. What about their culture is transcendent? What about their culture is unique? Am I just looking at the culture of their schools? Or the city? Or the children? Or the families? Or the educators?
I am thinking about making inroads and networks with similar minded educators. I am thinking about engaging in dialogue and keeping these channels open when the tour is over.
I am thinking about the impression that will be left on me, but also making my own impression in a place where their educators welcome the idea of exchange and collaboration.
I can’t think about anything else. Only after this tour is over will I really get a chance to think about pizza and statues.