Greetings from Chiang Mai, Thailand!
We are a cohort of 10 administrators from California who decided to take a risk and look at leadership from a global perspective. We’ve had the opportunity to experience educational programs from a fresh viewpoint.
However, there is a sea of differences in the schools we visited. The variety ranged from a university demonstration school, to a private school, to a public welfare school. Each site greeted us with openness, warmth and a willingness to share. Friendliness and grace has been experienced in each place we’ve gone and with almost every Thai we’ve encountered.
In each of the schools, they presented their program with the same pride and passion for their students and their work that each of us feels about our own work. All this was communicated even with the cross cultural differences and language barrier. In one school, we saw needy children who live in dormitories, do their own laundry, help with the cooking, and who may receive parent visitors at most twice a month. In spite of all these obstacles, the students were happy and learning.
In both places, Standards were more similar than we expected. Along with the content that our California students receive, Thai students receive religious, vocational and cultural education as well. As educational leaders developing a greater global awareness and sensitivity, at the schools we visited, we were surprised to find that this is already a part of a Thai child’s education.
Daniel Guliasi & Joann Kennelly
Daniel is Principal in the Novato Unified School District & Joann is Director of Special Education in Centinela Valley Union High School District