"Through the GT fellowship, I began to consider how differences between my students and me might inhibit our relationships. I wanted to be 'culturally competent', but this term felt disingenuous. I learned: students need both mirrors (teachers who reflect students’ culture) and windows (teachers who provide a new perspective). As a debate teacher, I used my passion for social justice to illustrate the necessity of effective arguments in creating change. We had debates about topics selected by students. They would make arguments based on culturally specific knowledge, which created dialogue about difference. I learned that while cultural competence can take different forms, each requires a mindset of humility and curiosity."

Stefanie is a Fulbright scholar studying in Spain.