Teachers -- have your travel cake and eat it too
Schoolteachers on summer vacation can translate foreign travel into job security and higher pay. A wide variety of study tours abroad are organized by universities and private educational organizations for elementary and high school teachers, those fortunate employees with summers free for globetrotting.
Teachers who enroll in these programs can earn up to eight graduate credits, which can be used toward a master's degree or professional advancement and in-service salary increase. (Many school districts require or encourage teachers to continue their education.)
Sometimes the entire Roman holiday or Asian adventure is tax-deductible.
Merely broadening one's world view is reason enough for many teachers to roam the globe. Frances Lippman, a social studies teacher in Chicago, said, "Young people themselves travel so much that it's essential today for a teacher to travel before walking into a classroom."
The increased cost of international travel has caused a slight decrease in the number of offerings this year, but many programs are filling up well.
"Teachers always seem to find a way to go, even when the costs go up," said Richard J. Brett, a speech pathologist at Waukegan (Ill.) High Schools and author of "World Study & Travel for Teachers."
The 27th annual edition of Brett's guide lists about 300 educational programs around the world. England has the most entries. Not all programs are geared specifically to teachers.
While programs in comparative education and foreign languages are perennial favorites with traveling teachers, Brett said many sessions spotlight various aspects of a country --e.g., art, geography, history, and politics. Even courses in silversmithing and coral reef biology are offered, he said.
The only Eastern-bloc nation to respond to his survey was Romania, whose government for the first time is sponsoring summer programs for foreign teachers. Courses will cover Romanian education, language, history, and culture.
A cop of "World Study & Travel for Teachers" is available for $3 from the American Federation of Teachers, 11 Dupont Circle NW, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Kevin Morgan, senior vice-president of the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS), said many teachers who enroll in courses abroad are veteran travelers who usually lead a student group in the summer.
"But every few years teachers will decide they deserve a break," he said. "Traveling without the kids gives them a better chance to exchange ideas with other teachers and enjoy the pleasures of Europe at a less frenzied pace."
The AIFS four-week program in comparative education features formal lectures, seminar discussions, and school visits in England, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and France. The first two weeks are spent at Richmond College in London, where students attend classes on the English educational system. Lecturers include members of Parliament and officials of the London Education Authority and the British Ministry of Education and Science.
Separate curriculums in early-childhood education and special education are also offered. The program, worth four semester credits, costs $2,349 from New York.
For language teachers, AIFS organizes programs at the Sorbonne in Paris. The four-week vacation courses are desined to develop fluency, build vocabulary, and improve teaching methods. The programs include an additional week for individual or group travel. The basic fee from New York is $1,649 for Salamanca , $2,049 for Paris.
A catalog on continuing-education programs may be obtained from AIFS, 102 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, Conn. 06830.
The Institute of International Education (IIE) sponsors programs in cooperation with the British Universities Summer Schools. Six-week courses in theater, literature, and social sciences are taught in Canterbury, Oxford, Stratford-on-Avon, London, and Edinburgh. Despite the original March 15 deadline, applications are still being accepted. Write IIE, 809 United Nations Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10017. Or be first for next summer.
Participants on a three-week tour of Kenya study the African nation's school system and its renowned wildlife. Details are available from Prof. Edwin Williams, International Studies Coordinator, Kean College of New Jersey, Union, N.J. 07083.
A series of comparative-education programs in China is being offered by International Seminars, 404 White Hall, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242.
Teachers traveling independently can reap credit under a special program operated by International Programs, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Ill. 61455.
For tips on tax deductions that teachers may take on occupation-related travel, the "Teachers Income Tax Guide" could be helpful. It is available for $ 4.50 from Teachers Tax Service, 1303 East Balboa Boulevard, Newport Beach, Calif. 92661.