DC Fellow Edwin Dela Torre wrote this reflection after the School Visits Trip to Boston in November. As potential Fellows consider applying for the program, we encourage them to see the insights shared in our current participants' blog posts.
by Edwin Dela Torre, Leading Educators Fellow in Washington,D.C., Cohort 2013
The saying goes that “it takes a village to educate a child.” And this is even more applicable in today’s world, what with the globalization trend and the world becoming smaller and smaller, that is, getting more and more connected. Connections and networking comprise another trend that affects all sectors of our world, including education. Getting to visit and learn from schools and districts in another city like Boston was s a great opportunity for us Fellows of Leading Educators to connect with our colleagues in that part of the country. And this visit proved to be just that, an awesome learning experience that will strengthen our resolve and re-ignite our passion to make a difference in the lives of our students back here in DC.
It was a mere two and a half days of debriefing (Nov. 13-15, 2013), but I felt like the education situation in Boston (which, I believe, represents the whole country like a microcosm) was presented to us from different angles and perspectives. The Leading Educators’ organizers arranged it so well that we were able to observe a whole gamut of different setups of how education is in Boston, and, by extension, how it is in the whole country. At the time of the actual visits, our small groups saw this angle or that perspective, this style or that emphasis, these grade levels or that special group of students. But during later debriefing and bigger group sharing, we saw the whole picture in its different pieces of the puzzle, like a collage forming a greater canvas.
Finally, with the use of seven different levers for visiting schools, which have also been used in the process of observation itself, we were able to integrate what we learned in small pieces. A great tool indeed, much like a pair of eyeglasses that can help one focus on particular aspects, eliminating other distractors, or putting those “distractors” in their possible frame of integration into the bigger picture.
Moving forward, we are now equipped with such a rich arsenal of experiences, compressed in such a short period of time, but still very useful, if we are able to digest these experiences, and make them our own. And we can eclectically choose what may or may not be applicable to our setting here in the schools and districts in or around our nation’s capital.