A Creative Take on Passports

This year I have the privilege of teaching eighth grade for the first time, with two students who I had in class last year in 7th grade. These two are bright, kind, thoughtful, witty AND have had their feet in more countries in thirteen years than most people do in a lifetime. Their passports are well worn and full of stamps. One of my favorite occurrences in our classroom is when we are reading a novel or discussing a history topic and one of them pipes up with a big smile and says “I’ve been there!!”
Though there are many complexities in the life of a third culture kid, one that seems to come up often is the country of residence versus passport country conversation. In History this year we are tackling American Government, and that brings up the conversation of identity, what it means to have an American passport but having not spent significant time living on the continent stamped in gold on their passport cover. As we discussed aspects of their lives that feel American, English being their native language, some awareness (if not affinity for) American football, a love of Disney+ and Chick-Fil-A nuggets, there are others that come up that make them feel distinctly not American, like the fact that they greet neighbors in three languages, they have sat through 5+ hour worship services in one of the two languages that is not their first, they receive groceries in a basket on their doorstep every week, and they don’t have a cell phone at the age of 13. They talk about the fact that they know they aren’t Burundian, but they don’t really feel all that American either.
So, our first project in History class this year was to create a passport that felt like it represented their personal experience. Though we laughed at the idea of handing in a paper booklet at the Bujumbura airport’s border control, they both jumped at the opportunity to create a passport that felt individual to them. They designed the cover with colors or logos or designs that they feel represent who they are, they filled the inside with Burundian fabric and printed out stamps from the places they have been and the places they want to go. This week we hung those projects on our wall, so that as we study American government and we lose sight of why we study our country’s history when we don’t live there, we can look at a visual representation of who we are, colorful and bright and multi-cultural, also with the reminder that our true citizenship is in the Kingdom of God not in any Earthly country or region or continent. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ“ Philippians 3:20

1 comment:

Nana said...

I would love it if you would share a picture of these passports. I am Maggie's great aunt (Nana) and a schoolteacher as well. This was such a great idea, thanks for sharing.