MMS Teachers: Where have you been?

MMS Teachers: Where have you been?

Nassim Aidja, Staff Writer

Ever since the invention of airplanes in 1903, traveling dramatically changed. The idea that people could travel across a 41.1 million-mile ocean in a matter of hours was absurd at the time. However, this idea has developed so much that traveling has become a part of many people’s lives. Many Mayfield Middle School teachers, in fact, have traveled very far. Altogether, a small group of surveyed Mayfield Middle School teachers have been to all 7 continents, all 50 states, and over 50 countries.

Mr. Race with family at Mt. Rainier, Seattle, WA, 2018.

The United States of America offers several desired spots including, the Grand Canyon, numerous national parks, large cities, and coastline. For example, Mrs. Williams has been to all 48 mainland states and has also been to all of the Canadian provinces except one.

Mr. Race, a 7th-grade science teacher for the Warrior team, has been to many places in the U.S. His favorite place that he visited was Maui, Hawaii, because it was tropical with nice weather. He said that it provided him with a carefree time away from home. Mr. Race said that he enjoys traveling: “I think there are so many things to experience in this world that we don’t have here in Ohio. I didn’t travel much as a kid, and I want my children to experience all the things this world has to offer.  I also have the luxury of being able to take my parents with us a lot of the time. They worked very hard to put me in a situation that I can afford to travel like I do. I want them to experience many of the places I go to as well. So we often ask them to travel and stay with us for this reason.”

Mr. Wojo with Mrs. D’Amico (and Center teacher Mrs. Kish) at sand dunes at Morton Island National Park in Australia.

Similarly, Mr. Wojciechowicz, 7th-grade social studies teacher for the Innovator team has been “all over the U.S.” His favorite place he has been to was Glacier National Park, and he said that it was peaceful and relaxing. He said he enjoyed it because “the scenery was spectacular, and hiking the continental divide was breathtaking.  In addition to seeing different parts of the country, he has also traveled internationally as well. He added, “I enjoy seeing and experiencing things that are unavailable in Ohio.  Traveling allows me to see the uniqueness of nature and cultures across the world.” 

International travel provides not only a vacation away from home but also opportunities for people to learn about new cultures. For example, I have been to Algeria, where I learned a great deal about the Algerian culture and history. Not only that, but I got to spend time with family at beautiful and relaxing beaches. 

Mrs. Golem and family at Lake Placid, NY.

Similar to this experience, many Mayfield Middle School teachers have traveled internationally. Mrs. Golem, for one, has been to several countries outside of the U.S. One of her favorite places that she visited was France, where she saw many tourist attractions including  The Louvre (and the Mona Lisa), the Eiffel Tower, and more!  Mrs. Golem enjoys traveling because it “allows you to see other cultures and gain an appreciation for those cultures.


Mrs. Saunders, language arts teacher for team Hele, has been to thirteen European countries, her favorite being Greece. She said, “I loved the history of Athens, Greece, and the culture of Crete.” Mrs. Saunders enjoys traveling because “Traveling and meeting people who are simultaneously different from you and the same as you shows you that the world is so big and that we are such a small part of it.  I think travel builds empathy and global awareness in that way. Also, I’m more open to trying to new foods and experiences while I’m away from home. Life is, to me, all about creating memories and experiences; and travel is a great way to do that. I would rather spend my money on a travel experience than an object because those memories last forever.”

Travel is important to Mrs. Powall as well.  Her most recent trips have been to Iceland, Austria, and the Czech Republic.  She likes to reflect on how or why other cultures or places do things differently from her own.

Some of the most unique places that Mayfield Middle School teachers have been to include Australia, Antarctica, Ecuador, Kenya, Israel, and more.  School psychologist Mrs. Kowalski’s trip to Kenya included visiting an animal orphanage and  conducting professional development workshops for some teachers at a school near Mount Kasigau on HIV and AIDS.

Mr. Paydo–Antarctic Peninsula; Weddell Sea

Mr. Paydo, counselor, has been to 6 continents; the only he has not been to is Africa. His favorite place that he visited was China, because he really enjoys Asian cultures.

Mrs. Vouk with students at Versailles

Additionally, Madam Vouk has been to Australia, which not many MMS teachers have been to. Even though it may seem like her favorite place would be France, she said could not pick her favorite place. “Each place had its own culture and ‘coolness’.”

While the benefits of traveling do include learning about new cultures and providing a relaxing time, there are scientific reasons as to why traveling can be beneficial. One of the most interesting benefits of traveling is that it increases creativity. Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School has done much research on the links between creativity and international travel. In an interview with NBC News, Adam said that “someone who lives abroad and doesn’t engage with the local culture will likely get less of a creative boost than someone who travels abroad and really engages in the local environment.”

Another benefit of traveling is that it boosts social and communication skills. When communicating with people whose first language is not one’s own, people learn to communicate more effectively and in turn, are able to socialize with people better.

However, these are not the only reasons as to why traveling is better. People view traveling in different ways. Some may see it as a time to relax and a stress reliever while others may see it as an opportunity to meet new people and learn new things about different cultures. It is clear that traveling is personally beneficial in many ways, and many of the MMS teachers support the idea that individuals should seize opportunities to travel when available.