In my previous post I said I would explain what exactly it is I am doing on these US streets. In June 2015 I was contacted by an organisation called the World Affairs Council- DC about a project they wanted to pilot in South African from July 2015-May 2016, The Global Education Teacher International Exchange Program (GET-IEP). The program would see 5 teachers from Gauteng get partnered with 5 teachers from the DC area; after a 10 day in-person workshop in South Africa the pairs would be required to find a common topic within their respective curriculum and write up and execute at least 6 joint lessons plans for the next semester. There would then be another in-person workshop held in Washington DC where there will be reflection, learning and then another 6 lesson plans will be prepared for the last half of the program. Of course I was extremely intrigued by this concept. This was the first time I saw a very real opportunity to be a part of a formal program that focused on globalizing education and I was fully aware of the fact that it was a small role I would play but a role none the less. After going though the application and interview process I was selected as the South African program coordinator and so my journey with this project began.
So at this stage we have completed the trip to SA and the first half of the project. Now the SA team is in Washington DC and we have been here for 3 days. Due to the fact that we arrived a few days before New Years we decided to start with the tourist things before going into full work mode, this was also a way to help the teachers acclimatize. On the first day, 30 December, we went up the Washington Monument and did a few of the Smithsonian- specifically the National Museum of American History, National Museum of the America Indian and the National Air and Space Museum. If any of you have been to a Smithsonian you will know how big they all are but the setting of the National Mall, which is the area where all of these museums are, allows you to easy get from one to the other giving more time to actually be in the museum.
On the second day we began with a walking tour around the National Mall, starting at the Washington Monument. We then walked to see The World War II Memorial; followed by the Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial and ended at The Lincoln Memorial. The tour took about two hours, which isn’t long for the amount of information there was to learn but we had a really amazing tour guide named Louren J who managed to cover a large base of the related history. This is definitely a worthwhile tour and I would say may be better than a hop-on-hop-off tour.
Day three had a late start, as it was the 1 January, so we only did a trip to Mount Vernon- George Washington’s home- which is about a 40 minute drive from Dupont Circle. If you have the time this is also a must see. It is a beautiful space and you could actually spend the whole day just walking around the farm, after you have seen the mansion and the museum of course.