Are you a teacher interested in traveling? Would you like to bring your travel experiences back to your classrooms to enhance global learning? GEEO is a non-profit organization that runs AMAZING summer professional development travel programs designed for teachers. The chance to experience adventures and cultural immersion, and then to share it with your students. I am in no way related to them, nor are they paying me to say this- I just think it is cool! 🙂
For teachers bringing a global perspective into their classroom, nothing trumps the experiences of international travel. Recognizing the importance of this, GEEO is “dedicated to to encouraging and assisting as many teachers as possible to travel abroad.” The world is more interconnected than ever, and teachers are changing the way they teach and prepare our students for the 21st century. After traveling, teachers bring their experiences back to the class. These lessons on cultural competence help students develop a global mind-set, a friendly attitude toward people of different backgrounds, and an awareness beyond their immediate community.
As a non-profit tour operator for educators, GEEO recognizes that teachers often have the time and desire to travel, but perhaps not the means. Working with GA dventures– the world’s largest adventure tour group in the world- GEEO is able to offer amazing trips at great prices. GEEO arranges trips around the world: from Bali, China, Bangkok, India, to Eastern Europe, Italy, Ireland and Greece, to the Galapagos, Costa Rica, and more.
In addition to seeing major tourist sites, GEEO’s trips offer cultural immersion: meeting families, visiting schools, speaking with artisans. These visits and encounters allow teachers the unique opportunity to gain insights into the traditions and daily life of the country they are visiting, and bring back true global learning to their classroom. Teachers traveling to Peru for example have the option of hiking the Inca trail, visiting Machu Picchu, additional ruins, and the salt mines- but then also get to spend the day with families in the village of Ccaccaccollo: learning how they harvest wheat, seeing their alpacas, and speaking with the weavers of the community. What a one-in-a-lifetime trip!
GEEO’s tour operator believes in responsible travel, and their investment in social entrepreneurship is impressive. Whether it is investing in better looms for the weaving community of Ccaccaccollo, or teaching disadvantaged women who to drive and hiring them for airport transfers in India- sustainable, ethical travel is paramount to all of the trips.
GEEO Teacher Travel: Educational Component
Perhaps the most beneficial aspect to GEEO teacher travel is the educational component. Before leaving, teachers determine how they want to share their experiences with their students and create a written, classroom action plan. GEEO asks the participants to take into consideration: Is there anything they need to prepare prior to departure for their action plan? What must they do during their trip to prepare for their action plan?
Teacher travelers are invited to join GEEO’s pinterest boards with e-lessons to share with their students, youtube videos, vocabulary words, geography, history, recipes, etc. These resources can be used pre- and post-travel for teachers and their classes to enhance the travel experience.
We all know that teachers love to read and learn, and GEEO organizes a relevant book club for each of their trips (fiction and nonfiction) before they go. How fun would it be to travel with other teachers, with similar interests, and discuss pertinent books on the trip?
Finally, while building their PLN (personal learning network), travelers participate in a curriculum discussion group: teachers get to sit around and brainstorm how they want to share their experiences with their students. To top it off, when they get back, teachers get a google earth presentation that shows their entire path around the country, complete with a script about each place, and links to videos, so they can show their classes. We all know teachers do not have time to prepare this before classes, and this elaborate presentation is a tool they can use to bring back to their classroom.
GEEO offers an educational travel program that is flexible, sustainable, and has many added value benefits:
• You get to travel with a wonderful group of teachers! The groups average 11 people.
• They often have school visits on the trips.
• They make the trip educational for our participants through experiential learning on the trips. No long classroom lectures!
• They give you resources to expand your knowledge about the destination.
• They provide structure for bringing your travel experience back into your classroom through their easy to implement education program.
• Each participant gets a free professional development certificate.
• Each trip is a professional development program specifically for educators and because of this many past participants have been able to find grants and funding to subsidize their program expenses.
• All of their programs are discounted to be 5% to 10% lower than the price of equivalent trips run by their tour operator partner G Adventures.
• Their participants are able to get Humanitarian Rate flights (which tend to be about 2/3 the cost of commercially available tickets) and travel health insurance because of GEEO’s non-profit status.
• They handle customer service with a very personal touch, answering all emails promptly and can be reached by phone 9AM-9PM, 7 days a week. There is no application process for our programs making it easy to join.