A Twist in My Story

I’d like to share a story with you from my time in London, England in 2017 during BookBag Tours’ inaugural trip. Enjoy a story from my time spent in an international classroom.

 

I was so glad Brickley was there to show me around. I would not have been able to navigate Archbishop Tenison’s School in Croydon, England without her expertise. I followed her carefully styled, sleek brown hair as she lead me into another sweltering classroom. We sat down as older secondary students poured into the room and skirted around us to find their seats. The teacher’s London accent was thick as he reviewed the small amount of information they had already covered. They were reading Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a classic.

He asked for student volunteers to read, and several reluctantly succumbed to their teacher’s pleading expression. He then informed them they would have to read their parts in their best Southern accents. These teenagers from a suburb of London collectively sighed; they knew their attempts at an American Southern accent would be close to futile.

Suddenly, Brickley perked up beside me. “Sir,” she began with her accent matching the students’. “You have a real American Southerner right here. You should have Victoria read.”

All eyes immediately turned toward me, the exotic foreigner with a unique accent. “That would be wonderful if you don’t mind.” The teacher replied.

What followed is one of the most unique, funny, and surreal experiences I have ever had in the classroom. I ready my assigned part channeling my inner Southern belle and as much gusto as I could manage. The students also sought to read their parts using their best Southern accents (which were truly and honestly terrible) and not their native London lilt. We laughed, and we enjoyed the play as it portrayed characters removed from time and origin; they transcended their publication date and country of origin as expert Southern accent mixed with stuttering attempt.

 

That may sound cheesy, or it may have just brought a smile to your face. While I can assure you that I also found it highly entertaining, it solidified for me why I had agreed to pay the money to go on that trip. I wanted to go for the experiences, the unique opportunities, the stories.  After returning to South Carolina, I was able to share that story with my own classroom while we read a different Williams’ play, The Glass Menagerie. It opened up great conversations about the transcendence of literature, the value of travel, our identity as Southerners, etc. None of which would have been possible without my own unique experience as a BookBag Tours teacher.

I know it is the end of the school year, and we are all just hanging on until the last day of school. However, I would encourage you to consider traveling internationally to another classroom to learn and interact with other professionals and students. In honor of the school year coming to a close, BookBag Tours is offering teachers the opportunity to save $200 on any trip as long as they sign up and pay their deposit by June 30th. Also, all of our 2019 trips are now officially available and up on our website! I would encourage you to go. Travel. Explore. Eat. Experience. Enjoy. Teach. You may just collect the stories that prompt and promote your most formative classroom discussions.

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