Christy Davis, a sixth-grade social studies teacher, has traveled extensively to seek real-world learning experiences she can use to bring her subject to life for students at Pepperell Middle School. Davis’ latest learning opportunity took her to Cuba where recent relaxation of a travel ban has made a visit to the country possible.
Davis’ recent Cuba experience was made possible by a Rural Teacher Global Fellowship sponsored by the Rural School and Community Trust. Davis and 24 teachers from across the country traveled to Cuba to meet with the country’s ambassadors, foreign policy experts, small business owners, and Cuban teachers and students. “The trip was to educate me about contemporary Cuban politics, economic issues, and the future of U.S.-Cuban relations,” commented Davis. “I’ll use those experiences to shape my own lessons about Cuba for my students.”
Davis also met with world-famous dancers from the Lizt Alfonso Dance Academy, Cuban hip-hop jazz musicians, and an owner of a garage that restores nostalgic cars. “We tend to think of Cuba in terms of a country forever trapped in the 1960s and if the country is mentioned in contemporary terms in school it is about the internment of hostile enemies at Guantanamo Bay,” said Davis. “I look forward to being able to design lessons for my students that incorporate Cuba’s status as one of the few remaining communist nations as well as its vibrant culture to help them see the changing face of Cuba.”
Cuba’s notoriety as an autocratic communist dictatorship makes the country a key point of the sixth-grade curriculum Davis teachers at Pepperell Middle. “I look forward to being able to share my experiences with my students, as well as other teachers and stakeholders in the Pepperell and Floyd County communities,” Davis added.
For additional information about the Rural Teacher Global Fellowship, visit the organization’s website at www.ruraledu.org
Christy Davis will also travel to Seattle, Washington in July to participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Scholar program where she will study the experiences of Asian Pacific Americans in the American Northwest. Davis has participated in study excursions in Hawaii, Washington state, Colorado, Ohio, and Tennessee since 2007 through the NEH workshops.