Make the World Great!
Although no one can argue with a desire for America to be a great country, in today’s reality, being a great country means working to make the WORLD great, not just America. Donald Trump does not seem to understand this fundamental reality. However, if Donald Trump had spent some time teaching English in foreign countries, we are sure he would have acquired the understanding, skills, and information necessary to make the world great. Teaching English overseas helps develop the character traits essential to making the world great – compassion, cultural awareness, and respect for diversity. These are traits that an American President should embody. But sadly, they are not apparent in our current President.
Compassion may be defined as a “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress combined with a desire to alleviate it.” Teaching abroad promotes compassion because the teacher often is exposed to students and families with varied needs due to poverty, homelessness, disabilities, or lack of sufficient nourishment. To meet these needs, the teacher must have sympathy for the children and want to help them overcome the adversities they face. A compassionate person makes the world better because awareness of peoples’ problems drives them to do something – not just assign blame. Trump’s statements and actions with regard to “shithole” countries, protections for Dreamers, and response to the devastation of Puerto Rico would have been quite different if he had learned compassion.
Culture makes people understand each other better…they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.
Teaching abroad also promotes cultural awareness, another obvious “missing part” of Donald Trump’s world view. An educator overseas comes to understand the critical aspects of culture not only in the country in which he or she is teaching, but also in other countries. Educators overseas learn that a culture is not “bad” or “good.” It is not something to be jeered at or “banned.” Culture represents the values and traditions of a people over centuries of history. Educators come to understand how culture influences the children and families they work with and the value of that culture to the country. In this way, educators learn about community and the importance of working in a community. The world is now a community and, although it has many different cultures, it is only through working in a community that we can make the world great.
Finally, it is impossible to teach abroad without coming away from the experience with a strong respect for diversity. Again, Donald Trump has not displayed respect for diversity in any way. Anything that seems to deviate from his professed religion (which he claims is Christianity), his value of money above all else, and even his gender is fodder for his ridicule and derision. Educators overseas are exposed to an array of religions, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and family roles that differ significantly from their own. Through this exposure, educators learn to accept and honor these differences as they work with students, fellow teachers, families, and communities.
Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.
What if Donald Trump had taught English abroad?
If Donald Trump had taught English abroad at some time in his life, he might have learned how to make the world and America great instead of ushering in a period of unprecedented divisiveness that has resulted from his statements and actions. Maybe that is what the world needs. More and more people taking the time out to teach abroad so that the traits of compassion, cultural awareness, and respect for diversity spread throughout the world.