I had the amazing opportunity to interview a good friend of mine about his experience teaching abroad. Let me introduce you to this adventurous, independent, fun loving teacher, Mark Taylor. I wish him luck as he embarks on another adventure.
1. Where have you taught and where are you going to be teaching in the near future?
Most of my teaching experience has been overseas, however I have taught in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. My last teaching assignment was at a Chinese High School that is affiliated with the Department of Education in New Brunswick, teaching grade 11. The plan was to go for to Beijing for 4 months, but it turned into 2 rewarding years. My next teaching adventure will begin in a couple of weeks at a Brazilian High School teaching grade 10.
2. How does teaching abroad compare to teaching in Canada?
China is a country of contrasts: fast development and a devotion to tradition. In the school, every classroom had a SMART Board, but the Canadian teachers were sometimes met with apprehension and curiosity about collaborative work and the use of media in our classrooms. It seemed as though education in China was also a part of that world of contrasts – slowly moving towards 21st century learning, but holding onto some traditional teaching approaches.
3. Tell me about the best classroom experience you had in China, which made it all worth being there?
I had many great experiences in the classroom, most of them being informal discussions with my students about Canada and China. However, one moment that stands out is when a former student asked me for help with a project and mentioned something we did in my class the year prior. He said, “You taught me that”. I think teachers rarely hear that and I am lucky to have heard it within my first two years of teaching.
4. How does teaching in different countries make you a more effective teacher?
Experience is truly the best teacher. As educators, we stress the importance of project-based learning and other practical approaches that will help student learning. The same is true for the teacher. Teaching abroad has provided me with personal experiences that will last a lifetime, as well as beneficial career experience. It has given me more classroom time for improving methodologies and pedagogical approaches. With this experience, I have become more skilled in analyzing my own practices.
5. How does the language barrier affect your teaching?
The language barrier has a tremendous affect on how I teach. I tend to keep my lessons as visual as possible. Luckily, SMART has great materials and resources for this kind of teaching. Other times, I find my class turning into a game of charades with me acting out words and phrases! Now that’s an awesome teaching experience!
Have you taught abroad? What was your experience? Would you do it again? Please leave your feedback at www.coursepark.com/smarteducation after registering for free. It’s a walk in the Park!