Thank you to all the support I've received as a result of becoming a finalist for Illinois Teacher of the Year. It is an honor to represent such an outstanding district with such wonderful students, staff and parents. I want you to know though, that I (as part of a broad team of colleagues) am on a mission to create a Global Scholar Certificate in the State of Illinois that would award merit to students who have demonstrated global competence through interdisciplinary coursework, service, a cultural immersion experience, and a substantive capstone project. I believe strongly that these skills and competences will be crucial to the current generation of students as they will be compelled to compete and collaborate on a global scale. This program, like STEM initiatives would coalesce around multiple disciplines including science, communication arts, fine art, music, social studies, technology and consumer science.
This desire arose out of my role as Comparative Religions and World Cultures teacher at NCHS. I find that teaching students about religion has immense value to students. Not only does knowledge of religion teach empathy and compassion while reducing prejudice, it also allows students a crucial tool to "unlock" culture. This "unlocking" of culture will be crucial to their futures as this generation of students is highly likely to collaborate and compete on a global scale. Kids need STEM and they need the rigor of the common core, but they also need a skill set that will allow them to quickly understand unfamiliar cultural contexts and unfamiliar people. As I discussed the urgency of global skills with colleagues, I soon discovered I was not alone. My colleagues from World Languages, Art, Music, Science, English and other disciplines felt a similar urgency and readily suggested ways that a global perspective could be implemented into the existing curriculum. Together we forged a document for what a Global Scholar Certificate might look like (See 'Global Scholar Certificate' tab above). As a finalist for Illinois Teacher of the Year, I'm committed to making making this program a reality for the state of Illinois!
Students in Comparative Religions enjoyed a great but marathon day of learning! They first visited the IBPS Buddhist Temple and Lisle where they were treated to a Dharma talk focusing on the desires (Tahna) implicit in cell phones!
Next we attended the BAPS Hindu Temple, the largest Hindu Temple in the Midwest. The building is made of 40,000 pieces of stone hand carved in India and assembled like legos (i.e. without any steel or additional support).
The final destination was a Gurdwara in Palatine. After learning about the Sikh tradition, we were treated to Langar, the Sikh tradition of providing food as an act of selfless service.
Hello everyone! The Mandala has finally found its home in the main office at Naperville Central High School! Congratulations to all of the students who worked so hard to create this awesome work of art! Thank you also to Mrs. McFadden for suggesting such a great place to display it!