I’ve always been obsessed with travelling. As a teenager I volunteered with my church group to traverse India working in villages, prisons, NGOs and hospitals. The experiences fulfilled me in ways I cannot fully explain and each year, I looked forward to doing more meaningful work and exploring my country every chance I got. As a young teacher some years later, I began organizing regular domestic travel for my students. I have such incredible memories of those early trips to forts and palaces in Southern India, ancient monuments hidden in mountains of the North and paragliding over sparkling waters in Goa. It’s quite possible that I had more fun than the kids on those journeys, but as I reflect on those experiences, I realize that they also allowed me the unique opportunity to see students developing an understanding of essential skills and it was pretty remarkable to me how a short break of eight or ten days could educate children in a way that classroom teaching never could. In fact, I am a firm believer that travel experiences can do more for character education and a sense of identity than any other experience in life can.
If given the opportunity, most of us would jump at the chance of teaching English in another country. Living and working abroad gives you the chance to open your mind and immerse yourself in a culture that you are not used to. Teaching English abroad offers this and so much more. It is an experience like no other, and there are so many benefits to be considered, too. That said, there are a few things you’ll need to know before you fulfil your dreams. We’re discussing some important things to know before setting off to teach English.
For twenty years I have been involved in taking students and educators down to countries in the Global South - Mexico, the Dominican Republic and, more recently, El Salvador. I started doing these trips because one of our high school students needed a teacher to bring down a group of really motivated students. I had no idea of what I was getting myself into and on that first trip, and really saw myself as an observer rather than a teacher-leader.
During my years as a UK school leader, I’ve seen how education is becoming increasingly data-driven. We have inspections, reports, league tables, audits and internal data constantly flowing within schools. It can feel at times as if we are to be consumed by data. However, good teachers are constantly striving to improve, and they know that it is reliable data which is often key to improvement. Without data we have no proper sense of how we are doing now, and without an objective assessment of how things are, planning future improvements can be wasted.
Seven female STEM-studiers from Rushcliffe School in Nottinghamshire recently undertook a trip to a German eco village which generates 500% more energy than it requires. The two-week study trip to Wildpoldsried in Bavaria was organised by Sasie, a Nottingham-based renewable energy company, in a bid to promote female talent in engineering and science and get more young women into STEM-oriented careers.
Take a look at part 1 of Jude's journey here.
Visit - “Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.” – Asian proverb
The opportunity to be in China for a block of time, and the chance to learn and discover new places, meant that any freedom we had for rest or recreation was largely taken up with maximising every moment to go somewhere or to absorb the culture. While there were the planned visits to the Great Wall, The Temple of Heaven, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Summer Palace, there were other opportunities to take the metro to some of the absolutely wonderful markets and ornate temples.
We recently returned from our second Performing Arts tour of New York City. The academy and I believe in a global vision that supports the curriculum, and New York didn't disappoint! Many colleagues and 'teacher friends' from other schools often ask: “Why do you want to take your pupils there? That's a long way for a short time? Performing Arts?”
We at Bower Park Academy in Collier Row, Romford, Essex continue to educate staff, students and the community through our amazing (and self-labelled) global vision. With connections around the globe, headteacher Mrs Morrison and I believe that the global vision programme will help take the school to good and outstanding. With knowledge, experience and British Council programmes, our latest venture is looking to impact how we teach Mathematics!
Allow me to introduce Anita. Anita is 12 years old. She is paralysed from the waist down, caused by a polio infection a number of years ago. While there are cuts in the UK that are impacting upon the level of care that is able to be delivered to children with special needs, we’re still a million miles away from the reality of life for children who live in many parts of the world.
I have been asked many times why I moved to Australia. Aside from the lifestyle-related responses (weather, sport, and more of which you can read about on my blog), there are a number of professional reasons I wanted to teach in a different environment to the UK state school system. I have only taught here for a month, and it is now the school holidays, so this is only a first glimpse.