Global Classroom Celebration: A Local Teacher’s Experience

By Steve Garlid, Teacher, Bryant Elementary School

When I was invited to attend the awards ceremony for the World Citizen Essay Contest in early June, I nearly declined.

I’m very glad I didn’t.

When I arrived at the event, which was held at the Intiman Theater (a wonderful venue), I realized there was more going on here than just certificates being handed out.  Dignitaries from multiple African nations were in attendance. Interns welcomed me and directed me towards multiple resources. There were parents, professionals, children, and even a photographer capturing the action. Furthermore, the event was catered – there was food and wine, and I didn’t turn down samples of Theo chocolate.

The awards ceremony itself was brief and meaningful. The honored students were treated with respect as each approached the stage.  “They will remember this,” I thought to myself.  “And so will I.”

Afterwards, there was plenty of time for informal conversation and learning.  It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm of the interns working on numerous projects. I left feeling inspired and rewarded, with a renewed feeling of commitment towards introducing my students to global issues.  It was refreshing to attend an event where the power of student and adult learning was not only acknowledged, but also honored and encouraged.

Thanks to the World Affairs Council for its efforts to stimulate student interest in global issues.  I had a wonderful evening, and look forward to attending another World Affairs Council event in the near future.

Pictured: Teacher Steve Garlid, Teacher at Bryant Elementary School and his student Kendall Barton, First Place Winner (Grades 3-5), 2011 World Citizen Essay Contest