For some reason, my student teachers keep look-
ing younger and younger, but they do prompt
me to reflect on both the journeys ahead of
them as art teachers and the one I am still on.
As a mentor teacher, I feel it is my responsibil-
ity to steer them onto a successful path, point-
ing out ways around pitfalls while trying to
Nancy on a boat in the Hong Kong harbor for a
Chinese New Year celebration.
ensure that they don’t miss the best experiences.
As art teachers, our journeys can take many forms: in our schools, our communities, across the
country, around the world, through cyberspace. Before you think you can’t afford such travel, espe-
cially beyond your community, I would like to share with you some suggestions for making such
journeys possible, even on a teacher’s salary.
Thanks to the Internet, it has become much easier to find and apply for teacher grants that can
pay for all or part of professional development and travel opportunities, especially during the sum-
mer. Don’t be hesitant to apply—you might soon find yourself on the highway or in the air. The cold
months of winter are the perfect time to start planning for the summer.
One place to start is the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad, which provides short-term study and
travel seminars abroad for United States educators in the social studies and humanities for the pur-
pose of improving their knowledge of the cultures of other countries. Learn about their current offer-
ings at www.ed.gov/programs/iegpssap/index.html.
Another source to investigate is the Fund for Teachers, which provides travel grants for the per-
sonal and professional growth of teachers. Find out if your school district qualifies at www.fund-
forteachers.org. You can also read about the experiences of two teachers who received a travel grant
from the Fund for Teachers in “Our Enchanted Art Adventure” on page 8.
The NEA Foundation offers Learning and Leadership grants that provide funds for teachers to
engage in high-quality professional development like summer institutes and action research. You
can apply online at www.neafoundation.org.
The National Art Education Association offers grant opportunities, co-sponsored academies and
institutes, and grant-writing tips at www.arteducators.org/olc/pub/NAEA/grants. Your state art
education association or a local school district foundation may offer similar grants. I have received a
number of grants from my school district foundation.
It never hurts to apply (you can use the same information in a number of applications) and you
might just find yourself on a delightful adventure that will refresh and strengthen you as a teacher.
Whether you travel near or far, by plane or Internet, I wish you a joyful journey.
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