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As I have written elsewhere, I have devoted a large amount of my “discretionary” academic time this semester to becoming a “more networked learner, ” expanding my knowledge of and reaching out to individuals in other countries. An especially rewarding experience was my becoming acquainted with and being regularly mentored by Ms. Irma Milevičiūtė and her students at  Vilniaus Gabijos gimnazija. I continue to be impressed at the interesting, creative, and  engaging E twinning projects she has involved her students in as they reach out to other countries. Never have I felt so healthfully competitive with or learned so much from fifth graders!. Thank you for allowing me to learn from the International PenPals Club and your FaceBook page.

Irma has been kind enough to share photos and invite me to participate in her projects. I’ve tried to be a well-behaved fifth-grader respectful toward my teacher, but Irma’s kindness, playfulness, and intelligence has often resulted in my trying to relate to her as my peer even though I was teaching here before she was born! Time and again these past five months she has provided me and my students with constructive feedback and responded quickly, thoughtfully, and constructively to my many direct and indirect requests for help. What a wonderful motivator, role model, and teacher she is for her students such as Greta Gudauskaite, Meda Go, Kristijonas Jucevicius,Beatrice Vileikyte and Martyna Petroskaite— and for me!
Though I am reasonably efficient at finding information on the Internet, say, about Lithuania and I have availed myself of local resources, there is no substitution for direct contact across cultures and countries. Thank you for expanding my exposure to music, musicals, folk dancing, and learning about Edgaras!

Among the lessons I learned from Irma were the following:

  1. Kindness, compassion, caring, and good cheer can successfully be exchanged (even “virtually”) even when separated by language, gender, age, culture and time zones.
  2. Lithuania is a beautiful country and a neglected European gem.
  3. Being given permission to join Irma Milevičiūtė’s  blogging platform based on her eTwinning project called TIPC (The International Penpals Club) started in 2012 was a joyful, enriching  educational experience. Thank you, Irma, for risking my participation. Kas geriausi? Mes geriausi! Jūs geriausias
  4. I learned so much from your students and from the other eTwinning project participants. Kas geriausi? Mes geriausi! Jūs geriausias.
  5. You deserve the best!—David

Dėkojame už pasidalijimą. Niekada prarasti savo džiaugsmą mokytis.