GCC Educator Spotlight: Anthony Bernardo

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Global Concerns Classroom is brought to life and to the classroom by our fabulous educators! Let’s get to know one who is effecting positive change with his students in the Bronx, New York: Anthony Bernardo.

Back in 2008-2010, Anthony was a Peace Corps volunteer where he worked at Kulima, a local organization in Mozambique. He facilitated after-school and extra-curricular activities for elementary students who had lost one or both of their parents from HIV and AIDS.

Anthony is a brand new GCC educator and teaches at the Community School for Social Justice in the Bronx. Here’s Anthony guiding his students during the GCC Global Youth Summit in NYC last month.

Anthony and his students are all smiles while representing Pakistan at the GCC Summit in NYC, February 27, 2015.

In your opinion, what critically contributes to poverty and inequality worldwide?

Corruption, suppression of women’s rights, and ineffective public health systems are just some of the factors that contribute to the complex problem web of poverty. I could go on for days about this question!

Introducing global issues can be complex and difficult for students. What is the biggest struggle in trying to explain global concepts in the classroom?

The biggest issue I have as a teacher in the Bronx is getting the students to leave the Bronx mentally. Many of my students have simply not been exposed to global issues because there is so much going on in their own community. My goal is to support them as they understand that there is a wide world out there and the Bronx isn’t the end game.

The other important challenge is making the issues relevant and relatable to a teenager. How do we pique students’ interest in health issues, say, Malaria, when none of them have ever had it or known anyone who has ever had it?

Do you think global citizenship education is an important part of schooling? How so?

I believe global citizenship is an important part of schooling. Global education provides a perspective that is unparalleled.  It gives students a wider lens with which to view the world, allows students to challenge their own views, and enables them to place current events in a broader context.

CSSJ Students

Students from the Community School for Social Justice work together to innovate for global health during the Global Youth Summit in New York City. (Photo: Concern Worldwide)

What lesson or activity, as part of the Global Concerns Classroom curriculum, created the most impact on your students?

My students absolutely loved planning out their project for the Global Youth Summit. They had ownership as it was something they created and they had to work for. Just as importantly, it was something they had never done before what with making budgets, learning about local needs, and creating something sustainable.

I’ll always remember my students at the conference, coming up to me excitedly, telling me we forgot to include both male and female doctors for the “clinic” to account for the cultural needs of Pakistanis.  They got the idea from the wonderful mentor they were working with that day, and they were so excited to take the idea and run with it.

What do you want your students to learn or take away about the world they live in?

I want my students to understand that everything is connected.  The smallest action can make a big impact when everyone is doing it.

For example, a student understanding that overusing non-biodegradable products puts a strain on the communities that are close to where the garbage is dumped and could result to problematic environmental and health issues. It’s a complex example, but just having awareness that these issues exist and that we can do something through the small yet important choices we make is a victory in my mind.

Anthony during his Peace Corps days in Mozambique

What is your most treasured part about being an Educator?

I truly enjoy the relationships I have with my students.  I will never get bored of students hanging out in my room, the things they say, and the crazy things they do. Our school is small so it’s like one big family. I care for my students and to see them grow and mature even over the few months we have worked together has been nothing short of a joy.

 

GCC partners with Educators like Anthony to bring global education to high schools in Chicago, Boston, and New York. Schools that participate receive standards-aligned curricula, professional development for teachers, unique out-of-school youth events, and an opportunity to travel to one of the 27 countries where Concern Worldwide has programs. The GCC’s flagship event is a Global Youth Summit where students from different schools work together to present innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian issues.

Want to bring a global perspective to your school or club? Registration for the Global Concerns Classroom 2015-2016 program begins May 11th. Application is available online at http://schools.concernusa.org/, where you can also access free PDF downloadable resources. Contact us at [email protected]. We would love to hear from you!