Homework: Montrose teacher chosen to study in Japan

MONTROSE — A Montrose teacher has received a rare honor: an opportunity to study in Japan.

Kathy See, who teaches fourth grade at Johnson Elementary, has been accepted to participate in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund teacher program.

See is one of 160 “distinguished elementary and secondary teachers” from the United States who will go to Japan for three weeks in October to study the country’s culture, government and educational policies, according to a recent announcement by the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund.

Teaching elementary school is a second career for See, who has a master’s degree in plant ecology and previously worked as a plant scientist, according to Linda Gann, Montrose School District spokeswoman. See still serves as a consultant to the state Department of Agriculture.

Johnson Elementary principal David Finley said See brings that experience plus total dedication to her job.

“She’s only been teaching for four years, but she’s an incredible science teacher,” he said. “She has a way of bringing things to life, of making it real.”

See wants to make Japan real for her students and is bringing it into her classroom. As a math exercise, she had students take an average of their arm and height measurements so some of the class moms can make lightweight kimonos, called yukatas. The students will wear them for a Japanese festival at the school after the first of the year.

As part of her learning experience, See said she must develop detailed plans for bringing Japanese studies into the school’s curriculum and to the community.

See said she has lived in Paris and Australia, but she has never been to the Far East. She said she has had an interest in the Far East since her family hosted two Japanese exchange students about eight years ago, and her daughter Rebecca, 18, studied in Japan through the 4-H Club in the summer of 2007.

The Japan Fulbright teacher’s program was launched in 1997 to observe the 50th anniversary of the Fulbright Scholarship Program, founded by the late Sen. William Fulbright of Arkansas, according to its Web site.

While Fulbright scholarships are funded by Congress, the Japan Fulbright teacher program is sponsored by the Japanese government.

See will spend 10 days in Tokyo and the remainder of the trip at schools in Tomigusuku, Okinawa, she said.

“It will be three weeks of nonstop learning,” she said.


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