Teaching Traveling: It’s possible to travel the world while keeping one’s teaching job at home! Let’s learn from Ohio teacher, Jeremy Radey, about how he does it. Jeremy, tell us a bit about your background.
Jeremy: Hello! I am a full-time social studies teacher in Northeast Ohio. I am 29 and have been teaching for seven years. I am passionate about world travel and have used my time away from school to visit six continents and twenty six countries while trying to satisfy my unyielding wanderlust.
TT: Wow! Tell us more about your travels.
J: My most recent adventure was to Australia and New Zealand in June of 2015. After months of planning, my wife and I visited for four weeks and it was transformative. By renting a car and booking lodging with AirBnB we are able to fully immerse ourselves in the local culture and geography. Highlights include hiking the Tongariro Crossing, exploring glowworm caves, drinking absinthe in Sydney, trekking through Fiordland, and visiting the Hobbiton set from Lord of the Rings.
Additionally, this coming November I will be visiting the Middle East through the TEACH (Teachers Educating Across Cultures in Harmony) program. I am incredibly excited as TEACH gives U.S. educators a chance to visit Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates and gain insight into the culture, challenges, and opportunities experienced by local educators. Specifically, TEACH participants visit local schools, cultural sites, corporations, and embassies. The goal is for American and MENA educators to share best practices, dispel misconceptions, and produce students focused on solving global problems.
TT: Amazing. How did you find these travel opportunities?
J: Visiting Australia and New Zealand had been a goal of mine for years. I had always been fascinated to learn about the people and geography and am thrilled I was able to make that dream a reality. The trip was also a part of my dream to visit all seven continents before the age of forty. Just one more to go!
As for TEACH, I came across this program while building my website, GoTeachr.com. GoTeachr was created to help connect teachers to travel opportunities and save them time, money, and stress in the process (you can read more about it at the end of the article). As I learned more about the program I decided this was a tremendous opportunities for all teachers and one in which I needed to participate. (Those interested in applying can read more about TEACH here.
TT: How did you find the money to fund this travel?
J: The most important way I made New Zealand and Australia affordable was to get the flights for free using credit card miles. By earning two free flights I saved roughly $4,000 in airfare. (I detail exactly how I did this here.) Free flights, combined with months of planning and saving, made this dream a reality.
Concerning TEACH, an incredible benefit is that outside of a $500 participation fee, the program covers all expenses related to transportation (before, during, and after the program), visas, food, and lodging. Considering the flight alone averages well over $1000, TEACH provides incredible value to participants.
TT: Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful, interesting, or funny.
J: While it might sound silly, I know the exact moment I wanted to become a world traveler. After graduating from high school my family went to Europe (my first time off North America) and quickly made our way to the Louvre. After getting out of the cab I had my first “oh s**t,” come-to-Jesus moment while traveling. I was floored just by the exterior of this building. I stood gawking for thirty minutes as I felt the weight of history and human ingenuity crashing down on top of me. I will never forget that rush, my original inspiration for world travel.
TT: How have your travels impacted you as a teacher (if you went back to teaching) or in your current career?
J: Through my travels I have developed two keys beliefs.
1) Travel improves teacher performance and boosts student achievement.
By studying in the British Museum, walking the halls of the Louvre, or hiking the Inca Trail, world travel has provided me unique ways to deepen my content knowledge and enrich my pedagogy. As a world history teacher, these are authentic learning experiences I can passionately share with students and use to create engaging lessons on global content.
2) Traveling teachers are our best chance to produce students that are open-minded and globally aware.
After growing up in suburban America, travel immersed me in unfamiliar cultures and gave me an expanded worldview I can pass on to my students. In the words of Mark Twain, “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness… Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” I happen to agree with this and believe there are few things I can teach my students that are more important.
TT: How have your travels impacted you as a person?
J: After a decade of traveling I have now developed an unwavering belief in the importance of travel. I have personally experienced how the right trip, at the right time, can fundamentally change one’s life. In short, travel has helped me develop an appreciation for diversity, adventure, and personal development – values I believe make me a better teacher and person.
TT: What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching?
J: For teachers dreaming of traveling, I suggest they look into the website I created, GoTeachr, which aims to connect teachers to travel opoprtunities and save them time, money, and stress.
While there are many travel opportunities available to educators, currently there is no efficient and effective way to identify, research, and compare them all in one place. GoTeachr is designed to fill this information void at no cost to its readers. Visitors have access to free articles helping them evaluate teacher travel programs and identify the opportunities that best meet their personal and professional goals. There are no ads, and I am selling nothing. This is just a free resource to help teachers find and plan meaningful travel.
TT: Thanks so much, Jeremy! Readers, what questions or comments do you have for this traveling teacher?