Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Torrance and Toyota
For the actual press release about the Toyota International Teacher Program click here.
Let me tell you a little about june 23rd and 24th.
I was taken awayby United airlines to LAX from DIA for the start of an adventure that I was greatly looking forward to. There were four other teachers from the state of Colorado on our flight (Kelly from Greeley, Saralynn from Joes, TJ from Denver and me). How did we find each other if we had no met before the trip you might ask......
Well, the Toyota group that was "taking care" of us had provided a handy rolling carry-on that had the groups logo on the outside. We talked briefly about ourselves and then boarded the flight to LAX. While on the flight, I shared for the first of many times the excitement that I had about the trip. The man sitting next to me was the lucky soul that was able to hear the explanation about the trip and all. We had a great talk and what a small world it was already since we had some common friends.
Once at LAX with my bags in tow, alongside my new friends, I started to see that this was no ordinary trip for a teacher. There was a young man holding a sign for "Toyota International Teachers." He took all of our bags and led us outside to a waiting Limo! Then the short trip to the hotel in Redondo Beach, California. I had never been to this area of LA and was excited to walk around. However, I felt a little odd being dressed in what the group would come to call "Business Casual Attire"since I was on the beach.
We had a short getting to know you session and then it was on to the first of our many bus rides over the next two weeks. We went to Toyota USA offices in Torrance, California. These are some amazing buildings. There is even a "green" building that is environmentally friendly. We were treated like stars. There was food, drink and entertainment. We talked with some very important people at Toyota USA and became even more excited about the trip.
My roommate was a newly married teacher (Jeremy from Indiana) and he was just as excited as I was about going to see Japan.
We had breakfast in the hotel and listened to a few speakers. One of the speakers was from Toyota University (Michiko Powell) and she presented some of the basic do's and don'ts for travel to Japan.
What a couple of days! I have never as a teacher been treated this nicely. What would the world be like if teachers were treated like this all of the time in every country?