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Teacher of the Year will head to China

By Shannon Beamon
Staff Writer
Summer break will put one Stanly County teacher back inside the classroom. And while that may sound more like torture than vacation to most, don’t worry, she’s actually looking forward to it.
“This is probably the one summer I’ll be happy to stay in school,” said math teacher Christi Edwards of West Stanly High School.
That’s because the classroom where she’ll be working is on the other side of the world. Through a grant from the Mariam and Robert Hayes Charitable Trust, Edwards will be a part of this year’s Go Global NC program, an initiative of the UNC system that gives teachers from across the state the opportunity to work in another country.
“This year’s program will be in China,” Edwards said.So along with 34 other teachers, she will pack her bags this June and spend 10 days in that country both co-teaching students and learning about the culture, technology and methods that influence learning there.
“I’m really interested to see how they use technology; I’ve heard it’s pretty amazing,” Edwards said. “And the discipline of their students, that’s huge there.”
This is actually the second year in a row that a Stanly County teacher has been selected for the program, she added. Last year South Stanly High teacher Carla McSwain participated in the program.
“It’s just a great opportunity to get you thinking outside the box, from a different perspective,” Edwards said.
Beyond methodology, the trip should prove educational in a number of other ways, too.
Edwards has already been warned to expect questions about the current U.S. president and a variety of current events, she said with a smile.
“Just like we hear things about their country and wonder about it, they hear things about us and want to know how much is true,” Edwards said. “I’m hoping that experience will give me something good to bring back, too.”
In addition, her group of teachers will visit three cities during their stay in China as well as some local conservation areas, a panda center among them.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll be learning a lot more than I’m teaching,” Edwards said.”It’s certainly a full summer.”
When she gets back, though, she will get a break of her own.
As this year’s Stanly County Teacher of the Year, Edwards was recognized by the Greater Charlotte Auto Dealer’s Association last week with a vacation package to Asheville.
“We’re always looking for ways to make our community stronger,” said David Odom of Friendly Chevrolet Buick. “And nothing makes the community stronger like teachers.”
Odom, along with Garry Edwards of Lum’s Ford — members of the association — presented Edwards with the recognition.
“It’ll be a welcome get-away after everything,” Edwards said. “I’m very humbled at their gesture and good-will.”
But for now, though, there’s no slowing down. Just bags to pack and people to see.
“I’m so excited to see where this leads,” Edwards said.

Contact Shannon Beamon at 704-982-0816 or shannon.beamon@stanlynewspress.com.