Poland is amazing! NCCS, the school ISU is paired with, is filled with intelligent and creative individuals; I am completely blown away by them every day! I have created amazing relationships with students, my cooperative teachers, and other staff members of the school. This entire experience has taught me so much as an individual and as an educator. This experience has also allowed me to travel when living in Poland. My fellow ISU colleagues and I have traveled to Warsaw, Kraków, other beautiful cities in Poland, and other countries as well. I will forever cherish my experience teaching internationally in Krosno, Poland!
One thing I found most valuable was being able to learn from my students here at NCCS. I teach math, and one thing to note is that math is different wherever you go! Thus, when presenting the material to my math classes here in Poland, I found myself teaching something that is absolutely foreign to the students, or is it? I found myself being taught by my students! In math, there are many different methods of solving, and I learned their way of learning math! It was absolutely brilliant, and I loved every bit of it! It reminded myself that math can be perceived in many different ways, and that there is more than one way to solve a problem! If a student solves a problem differently from me but got the same answer, then it should be praised!
One thing I found most memorable is taking a dance lesson taught by my students! A group of my students are basically professional ballroom dancers, and they set up a meeting to teach my fellow ISU classmates and me the basic dance moves of ballroom dancing! I am not a dancer, and I did make a fool out of myself, but it was absolutely fun!
What did you not expect?
The education system in Poland really surprised me. Here, at NCCS, the students choose a specific profile (or major) before entering the first grade; the profiles include English/languages, mathematics, chemistry and other sciences, history, medical field, etc. According to the specific profile, the students have extended learning in that specific field. At the end of their high school experience, all students take an extremely difficult month-long exam in all chosen profiles and in English, Polish, and mathematics. Therefore, the school's entire curriculum revolves around the country-wide testing. My job as a student teacher from the U.S. was to go outside the curriculum and communicate with the students. In the U.S., we focus on skill-building, and teaching internationally has definitely helped me develop those skill-building skills, such as lesson planning and creating fun and engaging lesson plans. With all of this experience, I plan to continue to develop those skills in my future classroom as a full-time teacher!
What advice would you give?
My advice is to take the leap and do it! These experiences are one in a lifetime experiences, and I am very grateful for this opportunity!
How has this experience impacted your life?
This experience has impacted my life in many different ways! Personally, I have found a new love and passion for teaching. Being able to educate individuals outside of the U.S. has only increased my love for teaching. I am able to share my lessons with the students at NCCS to which may be foreign to them. For instance, incorporating a stations activity during a math lesson or having the students participate in a debate in the English language class. I am also able to share ideas and different platforms with the teachers at NCCS, such as Blooket, Desmos, etc. When sharing ideas with my fellow teachers, I am only developing into a bigger and better educator! I have become more creative in my lesson planning and have found many different ways to make learning fun, especially in math classes! The cool thing when teaching internationally is being able to educate individuals whose first language is not English. With this, I have created many lessons that tier towards ESL learners which is absolutely beneficial for future teachers! Overall, I have experienced and learned so much when teaching in Krosno, Poland!
How did you learn about this experience?
I learned about this international opportunity through the Study Abroad program ISU offers to their students. I also studied abroad during the Summer of 2022, and I believe that opened a gateway to teaching internationally in Krosno, Poland!International Connections