The term “trip of a lifetime” is cliché and overused. But, perhaps it’s the most fitting way to describe the opportunity Sharee Barton just received.
A teacher development program will send the Madison School District #321 educator on a two-week trip to Antarctica in which she’ll accompany National Geographic scientists as they research life in the most remote regions of the world.
“I feel like a lot of teachers that have been teaching as long as I have are starting to wind down, but National Geographic has helped me wind up,” Barton said in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio.
Barton, who’s taught various ages of children for the past 31 years, completed the National Geographic Educator Certification program to become an eligible recipient of the trip. She’s worked on a variety of projects with National Geographic in the past, including a recent trip to Washington D.C. to attend a teacher development program.
This latest excursion, however, has a special meaning to it, she said. Barton has long been passionate about taking care of the environment and has worked on various small projects to promote conservancy with her students.
The trip to Antarctica is sponsored by the Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, which is sending 44 other teachers from the United States and Canada around the globe on similar projects.
“We’ll be with National Geographic explorers and with naturalists,” Barton said, previewing the trip. “Some deep sea divers will be doing work under the ice, as well as measuring the icebergs and the existing features that are there and of course, enjoying the penguins.”
The program aims to provide pre-K-12 teachers with learning opportunities and resources meant to “inspire the next generation of scientists, explorers, educators and storytellers,” National Geographic said in a news release.
“We are immensely proud to support Grosvenor Teacher Fellows — extraordinary individuals who share our passion and commitment to inspiring the next generation of planetary stewards,” said National Geographic Society Executive Vice President and Chief Education Officer Vicki Phillips. “At the Society, we’re dedicated to providing educators with unparalleled resources and transformative experiences so they can advance students’ understanding of the world and empower them to generate solutions for a more sustainable future.”
The purpose of the trip, of course, is to train teachers to be better teachers. As to how she plans to implement what she learns upon her return, Barton said she has some loose plans. As of yet, it remains to be seen exactly what changes her learning will incur for her students.
“I’m really flattered and humbled that National Geographic Lindblad Expeditions chose me to go on this expedition,” Barton said. “I can’t wait to see where it takes my students.”