SD Teachers Travel To Turkey
Keloland TV, 28.07.2011
It was the trip of a lifetime for three South Dakota teachers. They traveled to Turkey this month as part of a summer studies program, and they were immersed in Turkish culture for two weeks.
Thursday, KELOLAND News caught up with two of the educators to hear about their experience, and how they're planning to relate it back to their students.
For Valerie Parsley and Denise Ottenbacher, the sights and smells of Turkey are still very much alive; in their memories and in the thousands of pictures they took.
"I love the food, the variety, the healthy aspect," Ottenbacher said.
Ottenbacher teaches high school geography and middle school history in Watertown, and Parsley teaches high school English and German at Colman-Egan. They joined 25 other teachers from around the U.S. on a two-week trip to the Middle Eastern country.
"Turkey is trying to promote itself,” Parsley said. “They feel like the Western world is in the Dark Ages. They're a very modern nation, very up-and-coming, and one of America's strongest allies."
The group traveled to several different cities and lived like natives. They even brought back this traditional Turkish tea set, and explained how tea was offered to them while shopping.
"You look like you're interested, looking at their wares, then they invite you in and offer you tea,” Ottenbacher said. “You drink the tea, talk about where you're from; one merchant even got out a map of the United States and had us point out where South Dakota is."
Both teachers say the best part about the experience is what they'll be able to bring back to their students in the classroom.
"I can't wait to teach The Iliad and The Odyssey and talk about being in Troy,” Parsley said. “I have a goofy picture of me in a fake Trojan horse; that's a lot of fun."
"To teach kids, this is what Turkey's about and alleviate the misconceptions kids have about other countries," Ottenbacher said.
The third South Dakota teacher to go on the trip is Pamela Blake who teaches in Elkton. All the educators put up $600 of their own money for the trip, but the rest is sponsored by the Turkish Cultural Foundation.