My mission as an educator centers around global education. For years starting as a teacher I felt confined to the four walls in my classroom, but as I’ve grown as a teacher I’ve expanded far beyond those borders. I’ve seen that I can impact students far beyond the confines of my classroom, my school, and even my district. As a teacher I can impact education and schools around the country and even the world. This dramatic shift has happened organically through a simple experiment in international travel through the Transatlantic Outreach Program in 2015 where I traveled to Germany. Thanks to a seemingly innocuous email forwarded by then assistant principal Lisa Fosnaugh, I took a gamble and invested in applying to the TOP program. The itch to continue these experiences and see a wide range of cultures seems to be one that I’ll never be able to finish scratching. After a year which sent me to see the San Diego Zoo behind the scenes courtesy of the Teachers for Conservation Education, I applied for the IREX/Teachers for Global Education fellowship, which thankfully I won. Having spent 10 grueling yet rewarding weeks studying global education through the IREX/TGC Global Education course, I realized my true passion as an educator, global education. Traveling to Indonesia, I was able to practice the ideas of global education, grow as a professional, and meet like minded individuals. While many people may believe that these “trips” are for leisure, I’m quick to quip the amount of work and learning which occurs. The work following these experiences goes beyond landing back at Detroit Metro Airport after an international field experience. Perhaps the most important aspect is continuing to use the experiences to further the mission of global education in your school, community, and across the networks gained from the experience. Continually I tell myself that I never thought when I pursued a career as a social studies teacher that I’d be able to fly across the world and meet new people. Here I am in November, finishing my time at the Global Education Leadership Conference in Washington DC where I’ve reconnected with my amazing Indonesian fellows and many educators who share the same passion that I do. One of the most amazing experiences from the past three years is meeting so many amazing teachers. I’m in awe at the work of the teachers I’ve come in contact with and I’ve become truly humble regarding their talents. Currently I’m working with Sarah Bever and IREX/TGC to create a mini-course of the Global Education course that I took for IREX. This has been my all consuming project I’ve been working on continually through the year. At the conference, I would pitch this idea out to various fellows and I was amazed at the reception of this project. Based on the reaction of so many alumni, this project’s reach may spread far throughout the country. The mission for global education doesn’t stop as I’ll be traveling to Bahrain in less than a week. I can’t wait to see what future adventures I’ll be able to experience and share.
About Matthew Cottone
Experience the World! This is my creed I bring to my classroom and my life. I'm a World Studies teacher at Van Hoosen Middle School and I have a passion for learning and experiencing the world.