This week, 2011 National Teacher of the Year Michelle Shearer is traveling 7,000 miles in her inaugural overseas trip since being named to her post last month. She will travel to China where she will represent U.S. teachers in meetings with Chinese education ministers, teachers, and students. Shearer will travel with People to People Ambassadors Programs, on a trip that will examine the teaching profession in China and highlight the need for cultural exploration in an increasingly globalized education system.
Shearer, a Frederick County Maryland high school chemistry teacher, was named the 61st National Teacher of the Year by President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan last month at a White House Rose Garden Ceremony.
Shearer is a veteran Advanced Placement (AP) chemistry teacher at Maryland’s Urbana High School, where she has increased chemistry enrollment eight-fold during her leadership. During her 14-year teaching tenure, she was also the first teacher to bring AP chemistry to Maryland’s School for the Deaf, where she implemented a program conducted entirely in American Sign Language. With previous international travel experience, Shearer is looking forward to her first trip to Asia, as she understands the importance of promoting cultural understanding and exploration in the classroom. She inspires her students to look for real-life applications of traditionally textbook material.
“This is a tremendous honor, and an incredible opportunity for me to advocate for students, represent teachers, and draw positive attention to our collective efforts in public education.” said Michelle Shearer. “I am excited to travel to China and learn about their approaches to teaching and teacher training first hand,” she said.
Teachers are an integral component of all People to People Ambassador Programs, as they inspire students to dive deeper into cultural experiences and to develop an appreciation for the importance of travel in developing a global perspective. Teachers lead all People to People Student Ambassador Programs abroad, although this is the first time People to People is hosting a trip for a National Teacher of the Year.
On the first stop in her travels, Shearer will examine the commonalities and differences between Chinese and U.S. approaches to teaching. People to People Ambassador Programs will convene interactive discussions with Minister of Education for Teachers, Director General Tao Xu, Chinese teachers at Ba Yi High School in Beijing, Chinese college students preparing to become teachers at Capital Normal University, and Chinese junior high school students in the city of Xi’an.
By exploring all avenues of the Chinese education system, Shearer will return with a well-rounded view of how China is educating the next generation of students and their teachers, as well as the implications or opportunities this presents for the U.S. education system.
“We are honored to send Michelle Shearer on this trip to China,” said Peg Thomas, President of People to People Ambassador Programs. “She embodies our values of a global citizen, one who is eager to take the wisdom she will acquire globally back to students across the nation and directly in her Maryland classroom.”
Shearer will also have an opportunity to join U.S. high school students traveling with People to People Student Ambassador Programs to explore global education and the rich cultural heritage of Beijing. Together they will visit and learn about historically significant sites significance including the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall of China. She will also travel to Xi’an, meet with local junior high students and teachers and observe cross cultural exchange with visiting U.S. students.
People to People Ambassador Programs has sponsored the National Teacher of the Year since 2010, in a partnership that celebrates teachers and teaching excellence across the country.
- O’Malley visits Teacher of the Year for Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week
- Michelle Shearer receives Teacher of the Year Award from President Obama (video)
- Md. Teacher of the Year wins 2011 National Teacher of the Year title
- Maryland Teacher of The Year now finalist for National Teacher of the Year