Teaching Overseas #4: Glasgow, Scotland

4:00 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

This is #4 in a series of interviews that I have conducted with teachers that have or are teaching overseas.  This is a topic that is dear to my heart for several reasons.

There was an opportunity to student teacher in England the semester that I did my student teaching, but I didn't even apply. I now with that I had.

I was accepted to the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program in 2009. After receiving my placement, I had to withdraw because the school I was working for laid me off. 

Lastly, one of my three brothers, who you met in POST #1, is currently teaching English in Saudi Arabia. I was there when he got on that plane in the wee hours of the morning, and his messages home inspired me to seek out teachers that have or are teaching overseas to have them share their experiences with my readers.

I would like to welcome Norie.

I teach HS social studies in West Islip, NY. This is my 15th year teaching. West Islip is a public school, middle-upper class district on Long Island. We are very homogeneous- white, Irish and Italian Catholics.

What is your is your background and teaching experience?

I taught overseas in 2011-2012 in Glasgow, Scotland. I did a Fulbright teaching exchange. I was placed a
The High School of Glasgow- one of the highest achieving private schools in the UK. Comparing the two schools would be like comparing apples to oranges. They are very different.

Why did you decide to teach overseas?

I decided to teach overseas because I was feeling the itch for something different. I needed a challenge. I applied for personal and professional fulfillment.

What are challenges have you faced teaching overseas?

Some challenges I faced were cultural differences and an unfamiliar curriculum. I teach history, but I knew very little about Scottish history. I felt like a first year teacher all over again. I was usually just a few days ahead of my pupils. At times I felt like a fraud because I lacked content knowledge.  

Also, the teaching styles were incredibly different. In Scotland I had the opportunity to really go into depth on some topics while at the expense of other topics.

What do you believe is one thing  U.S. teachers can do to improve learning based on your overseas experience?

I definitely feel as though I improved as a teacher. I learned new teaching styles and assessment strategies.

I wish every teacher could have the opportunity to get out of their comfort zone to experience something like this.

Check out 

Week one with my brother who is teaching English in Saudi Arabia 

Week two with my sorority sister in India

Week three on teaching ESL in Asia

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