Free Travel For Teachers

Free travel for teachers opening slide
Opening slide Rural Teacher Grant Powerpoint

This slide began my PowerPoint presentation documenting research I did while on a trip funded by the Global Teacher Fellowship. I had received a grant of $5000 to fund self-directed research in Italy and Ecuador during the last summer that I worked as a classroom teacher. I consider this grant to be the “capstone” of my teacher travels, but enjoyed many funded seminars and workshops during my summers.

Frankly, the opportunities to travel for completely free as a teacher are so good, that if I were still single or didn’t want to travel with my husband, I might still be back in the classroom applying for grants for these programs. Mind you, I am NOT talking about programs where you get a bunch of students to sign up for a trip, and you get to go for free as a chaperone. I AM talking about programs that pay for just YOU to go, and many not only pay for all travel expenses, but also give you a stipend. Let me tell you about two of the many funded trips that I was able to take.

The last trip I took as a teacher was the one funded by the Rural Trust–Global Teacher Fellowship. I had to write a short proposal about my project, and how the experience would help my students in the classroom. I was a science teacher, and I wanted to study how geology influences culture at the boundaries of the earth’s tectonic plates. I decided to compare the mountains of Ecuador and the island of Sicily. My project was accepted, I received a $5000 travel grant, and I spent three weeks each in Ecuador and Sicily. There were about 25 teachers that received the grant, and when we all met at a workshop, I was astounded at the inventiveness of others’ projects. There were teachers who studied paper-making in Japan. There was one teacher who took a cruise, and at the port stops did genealogical research!

Here’s the link for this grant:
http://www.globalteacherfellowship.ruraledu.org/

One of the most unusual trips I took was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was entitled Houses of Mortals and Gods. It was designed for Latin teachers, but even though I was a physics teacher, I was accepted! It was a 5-week program that studied Roman architecture in Rome and Campania. We went to classes at the College of Notre Dame for a week in preparation. We then flew to Naples and spent two weeks in Campania, and then spent two weeks in Rome. Our last night in Rome we were treated to a wonderful dinner in the restaurant that occupies Pompey’s Theater!

There are many seminars offered by the NEH. Here’s the link to the program:
http://www.neh.gov/divisions/education/summer-programs

There are many other programs that I did not have the opportunity to attend, but that I had my eye on. Here are two good ones:

http://www.iie.org/en/Programs/Toyota-International-Teacher-Program/About-the-Program

http://teacheratsea.noaa.gov/#/home/

There is no special trick to finding these. Google is your friend. I would just input “summer teacher workshops,” “teacher seminars with stipend,” or any combinations of those words. There are more workshops than you can attend in one summer. And don’t think that you wouldn’t have much of a chance of being accepted due to what you teach, or how qualified you are. As an example, I applied to two NEH seminars two years ago. I was accepted right away into the one that I attended, Houses of Mortals and Gods, and was chosen as a first alternate into another program The Industrial Revolution in England. I later learned that out of the 130 teachers that had applied for Houses of Mortals and Gods, 26 were chosen. So the odds are greater than 1 in 5 that you’ll be accepted.

I won’t discuss all the one-week programs that you can attend in the US. There are many of these offered in every state. The point is that if you are a teacher, and you have the freedom to be away from home for long periods of time, you could spend your entire summer on funded trips.

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