John's Trip to Istanbul
Through Apple Orchard Teacher Development
In March, 2015, I was given the amazing opportunity, courtesy of the Apple Orchard Teacher Development program, to travel to Istanbul, Turkey for 10 days. As an added bonus they said my wife could go, too!
While I was there, I visited three different schools and observed music classes at each of them. The first school I went to was Robert College, an independent high school in northern Istanbul. I observed a band rehearsal and was very impressed with both the variety of music being played and the fantastic rapport between the teacher and the students. They were having a lot of fun, and it was obvious that there was a lot of respect for the teacher, and that they were really working hard on their music.
The next school was the Hisar School, an international school north of Istanbul with students from pre-k through 12th grade. I observed a pre-k music class and was able to visit a classroom for a short period. The school had very modern facilities and had recently added a sports/arts complex to their campus. There were music rooms for private and group instruction, a small recording studio, a professional level theater, and a gymnasium that were all very impressive.
The last visit was to The Chamomile School, a small preschool which, in terms of age range and number of students enrolled, is very similar to Apple Orchard. I observed music classes for all the different levels. The music teacher was fantastic and kept the children very engaged. I was also impressed with how the classroom teachers, who accompanied their children to the music room, participated as well and helped to keep their students involved in the activities.
The rest of the trip was spent visiting museums and points of cultural interest: The Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the cisterns, the remains of the Walls of Constantinople, the bazaar, Galata Tower, Topkapi Palace, just to name a few, were all incredible for their beauty, scale, and the sense of history that surrounded them.
We bought some rugs from a local merchant and when we mentioned we were trying to get tickets for a football (soccer) match, his nephew wound up getting us tickets and came to the match with us! We did a lot of walking, ate delicious foods, saw amazing sights, and met some wonderful people! It is one of the most incredible trips I have ever been on and I hope to go back again someday to see more of this incredible country.
Thank you to the Teacher Development Fund for providing me with this absolutely unforgettable experience!
Class II | Lead Teacher