Bringing learning to life
A local educator is hoping to bring learning to life in her classroom after an educational trip out of the country.
Ashley Twitty, second grade teacher at Ellenboro Elementary School, is the recipient of the James G.K. McClure Fund Award for Rutherford County this year. The award is providing the funds for her travels to India this summer through the Center for International Understanding at the University of North Carolina.
"I'm not only going for me, I'm going for the students I'm teaching in the future," Twitty said.
Twitty applied for the trip through Rutherford County Schools. She had to complete an application describing why she wanted to go and what she hoped to bring back for her students.
"I think it's important for students, even at a young age, to be exposed to different cultures. They need to realize there is more than Ellenboro. There is a great big world out there that we can learn from," Twitty said. "I like to bring learning to life, it makes it more real. When they see someone they know who has been able to go, it gets them to thinking that they might be able to go one day."
Twitty will leave for India on Friday, July 5 and return Sunday, July 21. She is going with 36 other educators from North Carolina and the trip includes visits to schools, businesses and cultural tours. This will be Twitty's first trip out of the country.
"I hope to establish contacts in India with teachers close to my grade level. I want to have a relationship where we can plan lessons together. I hope to create a unit that focuses on folk tales and culture with a teacher from India and teach the unit together," Twitty said. "We could do some classes via Skype and plan lessons together."
Stops on Twitty's trip will be Mumbai, Pune, Dehli and Agra. She said she is most looking forward to visiting the Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity and the Taj Mahal.
She said her students are just as excited as she is about the upcoming trip.
"We have done a mini-unit on India because one of our state standards we have to teach addresses cultures around the world," Twitty said. "I'm going to set up a blog while I'm gone. I'm going to send home information about it with all of the students so they can follow me if they choose to."
Twitty said she is grateful for the award she received because without it, she would not be able to participate in this trip.
"This has encouraged me to travel more, see more and do more. I have even encouraged my husband to get his passport so that we can travel because we can learn so much. I'm really excited about bringing back things the children can see, touch and feel," Twitty said. "This is my first year as a teacher with Rutherford County Schools and the opportunities are amazing. I'm really blessed to be working in a school system that gives us these opportunities to learn and grow."