Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kuna teacher inspired by trip to Costa Rica

For Kuna High biology teacher Angela Hemingway, a trip to Costa Rica proved to be a rich experience full of new ideas.
It didn’t take her long to start thinking of ways to use those ideas in her own classroom back in Kuna.
“I was flying home and writing down 10,000 ideas and saying, ‘OK, here’s my priority list,’” Hemingway said.
While most Americans were watching football and eating turkey this Thanksgiving, Hemingway was in the middle of a two-week educational program in Costa Rica.
She was one of 26 U.S. teachers selected for the Toyota International Teacher Program, which took place from Nov. 19 to Dec. 3. During her time in Costa Rica, Hemingway toured sustainable agriculture projects at Earth University and engaged in service projects at La Selva Biological Station, one of the most studied tropical rain forests in the world. She also visited rural Costa Rican primary and secondary schools to observe classes and collaborate with teachers and students.
Hemingway said she removed invasive species deep in a jungle, planted trees and toured a biodigester plant.
In other words, this was not a vacation.
“It was a lot tougher than I ever imagined,” Hemingway said. “But it was absolutely the best professional development experience I have ever had in my 13 years of teaching.”
If it’s possible to imagine the already-enthusiastic teacher even more fired up about something, just ask her about Costa Rica. She clearly returned energized and full of ideas for her own teaching that promises to benefit her students.
Hemingway said she was impressed with Costa Rica’s awareness of the environment and dedication to preserving it.
“They have six different bins for recycling — there’s no trash can,” she said. “It’s just a whole different mindset. I don’t know if we would ever get to that point, but it was very eye-opening.”

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