Amy Neal recently finished up her year as 2016’s Teacher of the Year.
“There’s a world out there.”
Simply put, that’s what North Dakota’s 2016 Teacher of the Year Amy Neal wants to teach her kindergarteners.
Earning that title opened the door to a Global Learning Fellowship through the National Education Association Foundation.
The year-long fellowship eventually brought her all the way to Beijing, China.
(Amy Neal/2016 Teacher of the Year) “I would call it, through the NEA Foundation, I had a once in a life-time opportunity.”
Neal said the goal of the Global Learning Fellowship is for teachers across the United States to immerse themselves in a different culture and find ways to bring the experience back to the classroom – and that’s exactly what she did.
(Neal) “We knew tiny bits of language just to help us get through the day, but we could not carry on a conversation. And so because of that, trying to communicate, caused some frustration. We had to come up with ways to communicate with somebody who didn’t speak English. Honestly, that is a huge thing to bring back to my classroom. There are kids that come into my classroom that might have trouble communicating, so how are they feeling? Because I just felt that.”
Neal has taught for 20 years and said this experience will always find a way back into her classroom for many years to come.
“Being confused in China and bringing that back to my classroom is one big ah-hah moment for me. But also, how can I bring the world little by little into my kindergarten classroom?”