Citizens of the World: We Need Teachers!
Americans are well known for their unwillingness to put knowledge and awareness of the world outside of our borders into perspective. Paradoxically, we are obsessed with making sure kids in schools learn English (teaching it--and testing it--every single year without rest), but allow many of our fellow citizens to complete their entire school careers without having experienced more than a glancing exposure to other languages, cultures, and societies. This is hardly the way to convince the rest of the people in the world that we care about them and the experiences that shape their lives.
And this is a very real problem. Right here in Gettysburg people immigrate from other countries almost daily and immerse themselves in our community; the cultural experiences they bring with them are actively reshaping our community, and the community at large, in powerful and permanent ways. It's incumbent upon us to understand the challenges they face and to learn to speak to them in ways that will invite them to participate as full-fledged members of the local community. One way to do that is to encourage genuine awareness and cultural understanding, and to place ourselves, as much as possible, in the place of others, especially those among us who may be less fortunate.
On the other hand, globalization is also a very real phenomenon, and one that promises to reshape the world in ways we have not yet anticipated. What does it mean to live in a "global" world? One positive connotation of this idea is that we're getting closer to others than we've ever been, and breaking down cultural barriers in the process. On the other hand, we know that many people retreat into dangerous reactionary spaces when the status quo is interrupted and it should come as no surprise the onset of the so-called global era has brought with it violence and strife that threatens to undermine the peace and stability of people everywhere. To live in a global world is to be able to travel across continents and time zones in a matter of hours but also to know food instability and poverty on a scale that may have once seemed unimaginable. We have a lot to look forward to--and a lot to be afraid of--in this rapidly changing world we live in.
And that's where teachers come in. The best teachers enlighten their students by exposing them to new ideas and perspectives and ways of thinking they never could have imagined encountering without the help of their teachers. Teachers--especially teachers of language and culture--bring the world into their classrooms. We want to help students who are interested in making a difference figure out how to bring the world to students in schools everywhere. Our job is to help them do that by helping them become teachers.
If you are interested in becoming certified to teach World Languages & Cultures at Gettysburg College, know that we offer initial certification in Spanish (K-12), German (K-12), and French (K-12). For more information, contact Dr. Kaoru Miyazawa (Miya), or check out the checksheet for the program associated with your major below.