In just a couple of hours I will be part of the Flat Classroom Conference in Yokohama, Japan. As I look out my window at the beautiful Yokohama Bay I can not help but think about how important it is that teachers from all over the world are coming together here today both virtually and in person to learn to teach children to work together, in a respectful way, for a common good, on a global scale.
One of the last times someone from my family was in Japan was many years ago. My grandfather, whom I never met, came here with a very different purpose, during a very different time. However, he may have seen his mission as the same as mine today, working towards peace. Although I never met him I am sure that on a personal level the experience changed him and his family, my family, in ways that I may never know. As I am sure, only not how, that my participation in the class and along with my trip to Japan will surely change me.
From the pieces of his story that I know, I am sure that he was a kind, generous man. Much like the men and women I have met all over in Japan who have helped guide me and allow me to create my own knowledge of them and their culture; the woman who stopped her bicycle when she noticed I was lost and took me to my hotel, the older couple whose faces lit up when I offered to take their picture together, the young boy who curiously watched me on the train and smiled under the hood of his sweatshirt, and the husband and wife who offered a tea ceremony for me and allowed my daughters and nieces to watch it on FaceTime in Mexico.
I am here as a teacher, as well as a mom, daughter, sister, wife and woman whose dream it is to be a part of the global movement to teach people to work together, to find the best in each other, and to grow and learn along with those who share a similar quest.
Time to get started.