California Educator

October / November 2018

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I f, as Mark Twain said , one must t r a v e l t o l e a r n , t h e n a l l o f u s should regularly journey to places we've never been. And maybe do it with students. For educators who have accompanied students on study trips abroad will tell you there is nothing to compare to see- ing the world through young people's eyes. Natalie Valles, a high school teacher in Hemet who has chaperoned trips to 13 countries, says her students have "gained understanding and respect of other cul- tures and religions. We meet people from all over the planet and make friends we otherwise wouldn't make. I cannot say enough about taking students abroad." Valles and other educators share their experiences in our story "See the World — With Students" (page 18). ey are quick to note that the responsibilities involved in chaperoning are enormous. But the rewards, they say, outweigh the challenges. Educator chaperones are able to witness closely what inspires and engages their students, while sharing their perspectives and knowledge on a multitude of subjects. Transformative travel doesn't always involve leaving the countr y. Teacher Colleen Taylor, based in a remote town in Lassen County, annually chaperones e i g hth - g ra d e stu d ent s o n t h r e e - d a y t r i p s t o S a c r a m e n t o a n d S a n Francisco. e excursion f e a tu re s a st o p a t t h e State Capitol to watch lawmakers in action, and g iv e s stu d e n t s a l o o k , often for the first time, at big-city sights. Of course, educators are life-changers every day in the classroom. Ben Stanton, who teaches art to middle schoolers in Compton, was recognized as one by a national program in 2016-17. As our stor y "Conf i dence and Creativity " (page 14) details, for many youngsters, Stanton's class is their introduction to art. ey frequently tell Stanton not to expect much from them, but that doesn't deter him. "My job," he says, "is just getting kids to try to believe in themselves." He con- siders skateboards, shoes, bag lunches, T-shirts and the schoolyard to be can- vases for his young charges, and as the year progresses, they deliver in a big way. Another educator trying to change young people's lives is Yulil Alonso-Garza ("Fight Against Gang Violence," page 56). After tragically losing her son five years a go, sh e turn ed h er gri ef into action, forming an organization that promotes anti-gang initiatives through- out Imperial County. "A s l o n g a s I h a v e a h e a r t b e a t ," Alonso-Garza says, "I 'm going to do everything I can." But what about you and your trans- formation? Professional development is a great way to change up your work and life. CTA's workshops and conferences provide many opportunities for growth and networking, from the New Educa- tor Weekend South (in San Diego Dec. 14-16) to the amazing Good Teaching Conferences North and South, com- ing up in early 2019. See page 9 and for more information. Here's to lives lived fully. Katharine Fong E D I T O R I N C H I E F New teachers from Ceres Unified Teachers Association had fun at CTA's New Educator Weekend North earlier this year. Transforming Lives 7 O C T O B E R / N O V E M B E R 2 018 E D I T O R ' S N O T E Research on Educator Website now features the latest educational studies and reports as well as relevant research. Find them under the "Research" tab. If you see something that should be added, tell us at

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