- Strong emotions come to those who visit the country of their ancestors.
- There is a lot to observe during your visit. Acknowledge that history has a way of influencing the present like in foods and music.
- Learning about our own culture helps us embrace diversity and different opinions and points of views.
VISUALIZE that we as educators, by staying connected as a global network of educators, will be able to collaborate and support each other.
IMAGINE that we could actually be able to experience what another classroom is like or another school system. Wouldn’t that create such a better understanding of global issues?
WISH that we could actually teach in another country, to experience what it would be like from another teacher’s perspective—I can’t think of a better way to learn!
Evolving Roles of Educators: Traveling Back Home
All immigrants to a country know the feeling they get in the bottom of the stomach that hits hard with emotions that overwhelm you. It’s that feeling when you first see the country you were born in. It starts from the air as the plane is about to land. When you make a trip there to visit, the moments that make memories are like a time capsule.
It’s a set of emotions that you can’t really pinpoint. Emotions run deep through your veins which gives you goosebumps of excitement as the plane lands in the new land which is a part of your identity.
It is because a part of your history and memories are here. You can never keep it forever because you always leave it behind. Each visit, you gain a better understanding of your inherited traits and your cultural values that you hold close to your heart.
The plane lands. When you go back with me to Sri Lanka, it is beautiful. The hot humid air mixed with salt hits you…with the equal excitement to see the family members that you have not seen for a long time it seems. The hustle-bustle of the community is in the air. You don’t really fit in…but you want to.
Evolving Roles of Educators: Lots to Observe
So you speak the language, observe, listen, and learn…
- On one of our family trips back to visit the country where I was born, my family and I went to the South of the Island to the city named Gall, where the natural white sand and untouched beaches lay spectacular in view.
- I spent hours just walking for miles and embraced the many awesome local boutiques that offered locally made arts and crafts and paintings.
- If you like to try Sri Lankan Cuisine, there are some awesome seaside restaurants you can choose from.
- The best part was that it felt like I was walking in Europe. The Portuguese influence is very evident with the architecture in the buildings, white historic churches bringing in the Catholic religion with pebble stone paths that stand out to make the area a wonder.
Evolving Roles of Educators: History Has Shaped the Present
In the history of the beautiful island once known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean, there were invasions documented: the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British. Each invasion cultivated, engraved, and arched its own history and influenced change; what we can now look at is a lesson about the multicultural world that will one day be upon us.
“We are the directors of our own mindset.” This quote written by an unknown author resonated with me as I think about how we see the world we live in evolve through positive changes!
The history books would recall the island of “Celeyon,” now called Sri Lanka, always having been in the intersect of historical revolutions. With the invasion of 1505 came the introduction of English as a language to the country and its influence as a language. Also, the locals embraced a new religion, Catholicism.
Evolving Roles of Educators: What Resonated…
Now that Sri Lankan heritage has mixed raced individuals, the locals describe them as “Burger.” It’s wonderful to see how cultural diversity was embraced on the island.
New ideas for local food such as “lumprice” are the most delicious meal you can eat. It is cooked in banana leafs and by the beach. Try the banana splits served in banana leaves. It is simply amazing.
Enjoy the local “Baila” music; the beach parties are organized usually every night when it’s dark and go on until the early morning. You can join in and get to know the people and embrace the friendships.
Evolving Roles of Educators: Historical Sites
Gall has miles of absolutely pristine beaches. I embraced the historic view of the Gall Fort that protected the country during the Portuguese Invasion.
There are many marine and historic museums that give account to the boats, invasion, and hold artifacts that you absolutely have to visit. Make the time to visit the White Light House that makes spectacular photographic moments. It can be documented from the Fort.
If you make the trip to this beautiful island in the Indian Ocean, stop and see the daredevil performance of the locals who jump off the cliff. They have a great time doing this jump for all tourists and visitors. It is definitely brave![scroll down to keep reading]
Evolving Roles of Educators: So What?
The reality is this: globally, we are so connected today. The world seems so much smaller. Indeed this is a good thing, isn’t it?
- It helps us embrace diversity and different opinions and points of views.
- It helps us see issues from a global point of view and the bigger ripple that it can and should create…positively.
- It’s important to understand that all nations stand united a strong stance as we figure out education systems so that all of our youth have a better chance at success and achieving their potential.
Yours in Education,
About Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge
Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge teaches in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. She was born in Sri Lanka and immigrated to Canada with her family. As an Elementary School Teacher who is passionate about Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights in education, she enjoys teaching the younger generation to be global-minded citizens.
Discovering the world by connecting with others is an opportunity that we have today in our society today and she loves meeting new people! She is always learning while traveling to understand the inter-connectedness of this beautiful earth we live in! Nilmini LOVES cooking great meals, watching movies, and the latest fashion trends! Family and friends are close to her heart as she looks forward to balancing social media and navigating professional learning communities in education to network globally this year!