Saturday, April 21, 2018
Education

Brooksville Elementary School teacher shares travels with students

BROOKSVILLE

When she returns to Brooksville Elementary School each August, global lab teacher Kathy Gates' students know she is going to have something interesting to tell them.

Gates travels each summer. Her students know where she is going when the school year ends and look forward to hearing about her adventures when the new year begins.

She never disappoints.

This summer, Gates, 61, spent three weeks in India and Nepal, traveling with an organization that caters to teachers. She likes to tour with such companies, she said, because they are "affordable education trips for teachers" and allow them "to really see the countryside and get to meet the people."

Back in Florida, Gates has been seeing students and telling them her stories.

"They've been enthralled all week," she said. "They're learning how India is the most populated country behind China."

They are also learning about the country's culture, food, dress and architecture.

"They use a lot of red sandstone," she said.

"Cows are sacred in their religion (80 percent of Indians are Hindu)," Gates told her students. "You do not harm a cow. They're everywhere. They're roaming free. Everyone rural has a cow and uses the milk."

The children were also interested to learn that even though there are McDonald's everywhere, they serve only chicken.

Gates showed the children Indian money (rupees), her visa and her passport. She brought back crafts, photos, videos and silk. One of the photos was of a restroom.

"The kids were intrigued with the squat toilet," she said.

She said she saw a lot of extreme poverty, but was impressed by how well dressed the children were in the schools.

"They're scrubbed down, wearing immaculate uniforms," she said.

She explained: "I struck up a conversation with a retired Indian teacher at the Kathmandu Airport. She said they have a Hindu goddess of education. Her name is Saraswati. When children go to school, they in essence enter her temple and must be clean and ready to learn."

In the classroom Gates visited, the children sat on mats on concrete floors and swatted flies, but were orderly and attentive.

"They are learning English and are very proud to read it to you," she said.

A place of particular interest to Gates was Varanasi on the Ganges River.

"They believe that the Ganges River is sacred. They bathe in it every morning. A goal of many is to die there," she said.

In Nepal, Gates said, the look was completely different.

"South Nepal is jungle," she said. "We went on a jungle safari."

They rode elephants and "walked right up on a baby rhino."

Gates is including writing and vocabulary from her trip as part of her classroom lessons and involving art teacher Laurie Enstorm.

Her summer trips are now an annual kick-start to each school year, and information from this trip was well received.

"The kids have eaten up India," she said.

And she hopes the students realize how good they have it in the United States, compared with the poverty-stricken areas she visited.

"I tell them we all think we're poor," she said. "We're not poor."

Comments
A Florida school shooting suspect charged with terrorism says ‘sorry’ to injured student

A Florida school shooting suspect charged with terrorism says ‘sorry’ to injured student

The young man in a white jail jumpsuit, handcuffed and shackled, looked past the throng of reporters pointing microphones toward his face, barely opening his mouth as he answered questions."I shot through the door," he said, looking at a female repor...
Updated: 4 hours ago
After months, no action on Hillsborough’s substitute teacher problem

After months, no action on Hillsborough’s substitute teacher problem

TAMPA — Confronted in late 2017 with reports of misconduct by substitute teachers hired through a contractor, Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins said he would ask tough questions and demand answers. He had his lawyer, Jeff Gibson, ...
Published: 04/21/18
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Nicole Leary and Taylor Redington stood outside St. Petersburg High School on Friday morning with parents and protesters who had gathered with bullhorns and signs. In a few minutes they would lead about 70 students on a walk to City Hall, joining oth...
Published: 04/20/18
Official: Shotgun in guitar case was used in school shooting

Official: Shotgun in guitar case was used in school shooting

FORT LAUDERDALE — A gunman who carried a shotgun in a guitar case opened fire Friday in a Florida high school, wounding one student before he was arrested on a day planned for a national classroom walkout to protest gun violence, authorities said. It...
Published: 04/20/18
Eakins: New ‘achievement zone’ would lift struggling schools

Eakins: New ‘achievement zone’ would lift struggling schools

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins is preparing to reorganize his cabinet — for the third time since 2015 — in an effort to coordinate programs at the district’s highest-needs schools.In an interview this week, Eakins descr...
Published: 04/20/18
Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

High school students from both sides of Tampa Bay will commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings on Friday, although in very different ways. In St. Petersburg, students from several schools will gather at noon at City Hall f...
Published: 04/20/18
Hooper: A tribute to my Godby High School instructors

Hooper: A tribute to my Godby High School instructors

Every time I see an algebraic formula, Mrs. Watson, Mrs. Landreth and Mrs. McBee flash through my mind.If you say history, I say Mr. Groot and Mrs. Melton. If you say civics, I say Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Hunt.I type using the "home keys" because Mrs....
Updated: 7 hours ago
Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teachers’ aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer...
Published: 04/19/18
Pinellas to enlist Sandy Hook group in its quest for safer schools

Pinellas to enlist Sandy Hook group in its quest for safer schools

LARGO — Starting soon, Pinellas County public schools could be using a nationwide violence prevention program founded by families of those killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in December 2012.The nonprofit group Sandy Hook Promise, with ...
Published: 04/19/18

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teacher aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer p...
Published: 04/18/18