Teaching Traveling: Ever considered becoming a traveling teacher by specializing in professional development?
Let us learn about that route by speaking with Fenesha Hubbard, a personal growth and PD specialist who has logged over 100,000 miles working with teachers and administrators in K-12 education.
Fenesha, tell us about your background.
Fenesha: I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and have been in a teacher frame of mind for as long as I could talk. In fact, I was giving advice on classroom management before I entered second grade!
But teaching was a profession that I did not intentionally seek; it was a natural progression from roles I took on in high school and college that involved various aspects of leadership, facilitating learning and helping others understand concepts in a meaningful way.
I studied mathematics in college and sought out alternative certification programs for math teachers as a way to immediately apply my degree. I started my teaching career with 7th & 8th graders (math) while also earning my masters in Instructional Leadership.
Each year my work evolved into roles that included school based math specialist, district professional development provider, math trainer, and math consultant. I had no idea that my teaching would eventually lead me to servicing hundreds of students and thousands of teachers nationwide!
After about ten years of that work, I decided to put an emphasis on my personal development coaching and public speaking. For a couple of years that was the focus of my career, and I loved the work!
It was really fulfilling to impact large groups of people at a time — inspiring them to reach their goals, teaching them strategies to do so, coaching them through the growth process, and speaking to empower them toward action. Where did I go from there? I asked life how I could impact even more people with this work, and that is when I officially became a traveling teacher.
I never imagined being a traveling teacher, but it only made sense that I would happen upon this role because I love traveling for pleasure! The travel bug really hit me after visiting my sister while she lived in Switzerland and then Ghana.
After those experiences I set the intention to travel more, and didn’t give much thought as to how it would happen. Intentions are powerful because once you set them, your subconscious goes to work and your actions and choices tend to reflect the intentions. I intended to travel and I also intended to impact more people with my work. Quite naturally, the two intentions intersected!
Now I work with a company that has school districts from all over the United States as clients. In the past two years I’ve logged over 100,000 miles in travel, working with teachers and administrators all over the country. The world truly is my classroom.
TT: Amazing! Tell us more about your travels.
F: I went to Rome and Venice, consecutively and in that order. That’s important to emphasize because the two cities are drastically different in the way they feel. Rome feels very masculine, and Venice very feminine.
Walking all over both cities helps you to really experience the history in an intuitively sensed way through the architecture, design, and essence of the place. While in Venice our room was right on the water (talk about a great canal view) and we were serenaded nightly by men passing on gondolas.
What made this trip interesting was that our room was haunted (yes, I swear!). Have you ever seen a dog who is hesitant or afraid to enter a certain space? Have you thought about why that is, or how dogs can sense something almost with a sixth sense?
Well, my sixth sense picked up memories in that place! How do I know? Let’s just say the dreams while staying in that room were a lot more animated than normal! Staying there was a very surreal experience!
TT: Wow! How did you find that travel opportunity?
F: My boyfriend arranged the European trip for us, and every place we stayed helped us embrace the culture and history; it was reflective of the city. In Santa Margherita we experienced luxury, Paris sophistication, Venice mystery, and Rome tradition.
TT: How did you find the money to fund this travel?
F: Personal travel is always budgeted in advance. It’s about as necessary as budgeting for food.
TT: So well put! Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful, interesting, or funny.
I typically travel for work to cities that I’ve never been to before, which means I rely a lot on maps and GPS. Once while in Portland, Oregon I ventured off my preplanned route and began losing my GPS signal. I was walking and mapping my route out mentally, while trying to not get stressed out from being lost.
Then all of a sudden a lady walked by me in a bit of a hurry and said “Keep walking straight a few blocks and turn left.”
The funny thing is that she wasn’t talking directly to me, or to anyone for that matter. I was startled, but something in my gut said to follow her lead, which I did, and I made it back to my destination with ease.
That experience was powerful because it reminded me that life is always supporting you in some way, and that answers can come from places we least expect.
I think the last lesson is most powerful. We can expect things to turn out a certain way, and when they don’t there can be a tendency to dismiss it or not believe that it’s too good and too true!
When I focused on the essence (how it feels, what’s happening) of what impacting more people with my work would be like, and also traveling more for pleasure, I had no idea it could look the way it does now in my current role.
TT: Fascinating. How have your travels impacted you as a teacher, and in your current career?
F: Traveling and teaching has reminded me of the diversity that exists in our country. Talking with educators nationwide reminds me that children are the same everywhere.
TT: So true. How have your travels impacted you as a person?
F: Traveling can be very unsettling for me, but the irony is that it is also very grounding. It’s unsettling at times because of the time zone changes, long commutes through airports and in planes, and exploring new grounds.
Travel is grounding because I am humbled when I meet educators from different states and hear their stories about the impact they are making in our young people’s lives.
TT: What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching?
F: Become friends with risk because it can stretch you and help you grow.
I took a risk while on a solo vacation once and went canoeing on the Mississippi River with about 100 strangers! I met a woman who talked with me a lot about travel and opportunities, and she helped me expand my perspectives of travel.
Also, get clear on what you want to experience — what you will be doing, what it will feel like — and think about it a lot. Think about it so much that it starts to feel real. Make it feel so real to you that you begin to expect it to happen.
You’ll be surprised at how opportunities, people, and subtle messages (like seeing a commercial filmed in a place you want to visit, or happening upon a relevant article or a job opportunity) will begin to be more visible in your life.
Eventually your life will catch up with your thoughts and you’ll be a traveling teacher!
TT: Thanks so much, Fenesha! Readers, what questions or comments do you have? If you’d like to see more about Fenesha, check out her personal growth and professional development website.
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English from Boston who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched TeachingTraveling.com in 2010 to share expert global education resources, and over 1.6 million readers have visited over the past decade. Lillie also runs AroundTheWorld L.com Travel and Life Blog, and DrawingsOf.com for educational cartoons. Do stay in touch via subscribing to her monthly newsletter, and following @WorldLillie on social media!