Frontier teacher selected for cultural visit to Japan
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 28, 2006

Meghan E. Moravcik

Nashua Way's fourth-graders won't just learn about Arizona, plants, multiplication and division next school year. They're also going to get a crash course in Japanese culture.

The Frontier Elementary teacher was chosen as one of 600 teachers and administrators nationwide to visit Japan for three weeks to tour schools and museums, learn about Japan's culture and education system, and attend seminars. She'll also stay with a Japanese family.

And she plans to bring it all back to her students. "It's going to be good for them because it will expose them to things they've never seen," Way said.

The kids will have a substitute while Way is gone for three weeks at the end of November. When she gets back, she'll teach them about the Asian country's geography and culture. The class will have a pen pal to interact with. And when they read the two Japanese stories that Way teaches every year, she'll be able to build deeper lessons around them.

"I think now that I'm going to go (to Japan), I'll get more knowledge so these stories can be better developed," she said. "We just kind of read it and go on, so now I think we can make bigger units on it."

"A lot of the time, we're going to visit the schools and get a feel for how they're different from the United States," said Way, who has been teaching in the Peoria Unified School District for six years.

The Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program, which is sponsored by the Japanese government, administers the program. Each of the 600 participants will travel to San Francisco for an overview before flying to Tokyo.

The teachers and administrators will be divided into several groups to visit smaller communities.

Getting chosen wasn't easy. It included a substantial application, with "tons and tons of questions," letters of recommendations and details over how the applicants planned to put their experience to good use, Way said.

Along with the lessons she is planning for her students, Way is setting up a family geography night to show off artifacts to the community, and she will share her experiences at the Arizona Geographic Alliance's annual GeoFest.