NSW and ACT teachers embarking on the IEU Teacher Exchange Program next year attended an orientation day at the Department of Education in Sydney.
The day covered a variety of topics, from financial support to networking skills to housekeeping. Most teachers at the orientation were preparing for their first exchange, but there were a number who were back for their second or even third!
Physical education teacher Mark Steele from Central Coast Grammar School is preparing for his second exchange to Canada, to British Columbia. Mark said that “the first time was so great, once just isn’t enough.” He described the exchange program as “a whole complete life experience, more than just an educational one”.
English teacher Richard Murray, departing for Ottawa, was introduced to the program by an exchange teacher at his school. He was inspired by how he and his wife really made the most of their time in Australia.
“They had a fantastic time. They bought a four wheel drive and every weekend they were going somewhere. They saw more of Newcastle in a year than I’ve seen in my whole life!”
Tara Cassidy, from Mt Carmel School, although “terrified” of the cold climate waiting for her in Canada, was compelled by the “opportunity for a bit of professional development while travelling and meeting new people.” She said she hopes this will involve “a bit of networking with other teachers, finding out what other schools are doing in other countries and bringing that back to my classroom.”
Amy Haydon, a History teacher from St Joseph’s Regional College, was excited by the prospect of an entirely new living environment. “We’re in Calgary which is a lot bigger than what we’re used to in Port Macquarie. The population of Calgary is around 1 million and Port Macquarie is only 60,000.”
Going on teacher exchange has always been on the agenda for Emma and Adam Kelly. “It’s something we’ve been talking about since we first got together.” Emma says. The pair said they feel like it’s the perfect time for them to embark on the journey now that their children are adults. “We just thought we’d throw in an application and see how it goes!”
The day was an opportunity for teachers to get to know each other, to listen and learn from current and recently returned exchange teachers,
gain the confidence to enter their new social, learning and natural environments and finally meet Exchange coordinator Helen Gregory.
Applications are still being taken for 2019; and remember if you did apply for a match for 2018 and were unsuccessful, you will be given priority for the next round of matching if you are still keen to reactivate your application. Call Helen Gregory on 8202 8900 or 1800 467 943 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.