I learned so much from this entire teaching experience about global perspectives but seeing how much work these people went to (people who only met me 6 short weeks ago) and to hear them speak about how they felt about us and our teaching, really opened my eyes. I have come to realize so many little things, like how different education systems are, how teachers interact differently , and so on, but most importantly I have realized what an impact I can have in such a short time.
I also feel that experiencing for myself how people live in third world countries will benefit me greatly as an educator. I have done some travelling before and have learned about different parts of the world but no experience has ever been like this one and none of them have opened my eyes like this one. I feel I am now more aware of life outside of Canada and that I will be able to pass all these experiences on to my students and let them experience what I have experienced through my stories and pictures.
~ Jen MacDonald, 2013 BEd Graduate
Coming from North America we often carry the bias that our teaching ways are superior to most countries. After being in a completely different country for almost 6 weeks, I have realized that just because other cultures teach in different ways doesn’t make their teaching Inferior to ours. They are using the techniques that work for their students, in their culture with the resources available to them. I like to think of it as dropping off a brand new Mercedes Benz to a rural family in a remote country….it might be new, fast and a more efficient way of transportation…. But if they have no gas or roads to use it on.. what good is it? Perhaps the education system in Ethiopia isn’t quite ready yet for all of our “new ways of teaching.” From teaching lessons to dancing around at recess time, our teaching placement has been such a wonderful experience. I can only hope that we had half the impact on our school as they did on us!
~Laura Howard, 2013 BEd Graduate
It has certainly been enlightening to experience how another culture values and celebrates an education. Everything from uniforms to morning ceremony time to exams and practice suggests that students, teachers, parents and the community do take education seriously and with great respect. Students are held accountable for their work and are praised. The entire structure of practice and performance of what they are learning requires them to be diligent, and teachers hold high expectations of every student for them to pay attention, understand, and deliver. I have learned when teacher direction and control are effective, and have experienced the thrill of students being an independent success. Also, when encountering street children I am reminded of how very much could be at stake for these students in this part of the world if they were not able to get an education. I may have worked hard at school, but these are young students encountering tests and homework and real challenges for them, learning not just one language but two. How could they not be inspirational? Quite simply and honestly, I feel privileged to have been made a part of it, to embrace the history and learn the traditions. The similarities and differences provide another lens through which to understand my own culture and society.
~Leanne Doiron, 2013 BEd Graduate