PHOTO: James Curley is a world language teacher at Davis High. A couple of months into distance learning, James Curly, a language teacher, realized the importance of cultural interaction and his own love of traveling.
By Stella Maze,
Shelter-in-place began smoothly for Davis High world language teacher James Curley and his family, but after a few months, his anxiety levels rose as he noticed a desire for meaningful connection within the people around him.
“Everybody seems to be getting very squeezed by what’s going on,” said Curley, who lives in Sacramento with his wife and two young daughters.
Curley thinks that there needs to be more of a push to encourage social interaction and physical activity in order to prevent deteriorating mental and physical health.
“I get a little bit anxious now that school has started and I see my daughters who are seated and not playing as much,” Curley said.
Despite the struggles, the community lockdown has sparked Curley’s thoughts on how the internet could help students learn about language and culture. He explains how the technology DHS is using for online classes could allow students from different ends of the globe to communicate face-to-face.
Curley hasn’t tried it yet, but this could be an opportunity for students to learn about different cultures and practice their language skills in a new, more interactive way.
“I think the technology could help with linking people who would like to […] converse and like to get to know one another,” Curley said.
Connecting people from different parts of the world was a big part of why Curley originally became a language teacher.
He has always loved travel and started teaching after a trip to South America that convinced him that he wanted to share the importance of language and culture with others.
“I looked forward to Mr. Curley’s class everyday,” said Emma Catacutan, a Spanish student of Curley’s last school year. “He found a way to incorporate his traveling into his teaching.”
The experience of connection through travel is unlike any other form of education, according to Curley.
“Knowing that you’re not the only culture in the world is a really important step to becoming […] compassionate and understanding of the world,” Curley said.