ED's LetterJuly 2013
‘Kids are kids the world over’
One of the beautiful traits of teaching is that it is a profession needed and valued throughout the world. Whether it is putting your skills to work in an isolated Ghanaian gated compound as Tracy Olorenshaw is doing, or teaching second graders at an elementary school in North Carolina as Ula Lologa is doing, or taking a sabbatical to the UK as Jeanette Gibbs did, education is relevant wherever you go. That ‘kids are kids the world over’, appears to be another universal truth; these Kiwi teachers (all featured in the print or online versions of this issue) all reached this same conclusion.
However, the means of teaching abroad are as many and varied as the potential destinations. In this issue we try to cover most bases, looking at the ins and outs of going through an international recruitment agency or a volunteer agency; applying for a scholarship, a place on a language immersion or teaching exchange programme or a sabbatical; or simply winging it on a working holiday.
With many New Zealand teachers still struggling to find teaching jobs, now could be a good time to explore the possibilities of teaching abroad. However, of the teachers featured in this issue, most weren’t escaping a tough job market but rather seeking to broaden their horizons with new experiences.
Regardless of their motivation, most are keen to keep in touch with what’s happening in education circles back home. We look at how social media with its forums, blogs, and chat capabilities have allowed teachers all over the world to connect with each other, keeping abreast of policy changes and curriculum developments ─ or simply the staff room gossip. Popular Twitter forum #edchatNZ has helped many far-flung Kiwi teachers to tune into what is happening back in New Zealand and also to share what they are learning in classrooms in other countries.
It isn’t surprising that a spin-off student version of the Twitter forum has emerged. New initiatives to connect students from across the world are truly inspiring. A modern twist on the ‘letter in a bottle’ classroom experience, Skype in the Classroom is opening doors for many students and their teachers. In this issue, a teacher from Blockhouse Bay School in Auckland and a teacher from a school in Chicago give their candid accounts of how their classes met via Skype.
For older students, the possibility to travel the world through overseas school trips is fast becoming an expectation for many. Hop online to read of the challenges of fundraising...
Don’t miss our next issue, Leadership & Professional Development, in which we get a feel for how student leaders rate their educational experience in New Zealand, we talk to new principals about their journey to leadership, we look at pastoral care in schools, and we take a closer look at the Ministry’s favoured Positive Behaviour for Learning Programme.
Jude Barback, editor
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