TIU Students Teach Abroad
As Division of Education seniors make their impression as student teachers in local schools, two Trinity students have taken their knowledge and experiences to different countries, where they have begun student teaching in foreign lands. Lydia Swanson and Rachel Osborn have embarked upon this journey, as Swanson is teaching in Brazil and Osborn has taken her passion to Costa Rica.
For Swanson, an Elementary Education major with Concentration in Math, she is teaching fifth and sixth grade at the Brasilia International School in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. Swanson said the main thing she likes about the school is that is a Christian-based school with a Christian mission statement and values, but their student population is very diverse, with students representing over 20 nations and various religious backgrounds.
“The school and teachers are really intentional about integrating faith into their learning,” Swanson said. This is another thing that TIU talks about, but to see real people (in Brazil) actually living this way has been such as encouragement.”
In her fourth week of teaching now, Swanson has slowly gained more control of her classroom as she has been able to teach lessons in almost every subject while getting to know the makeup of the school and student body. Swanson has also been able to share her passion for soccer by playing with her students at recess.
She also pointed to her cooperating teacher as being extremely helpful by giving feedback and offering ideas of how to teach certain subjects. Swanson will gain full control of her classroom by the end of February and will continue to student teach until May.
Osborn, an Elementary Education major with emphasis on Middle School Science and Language Arts, is currently teaching second grade at Miriam Baker School in San Jose, Costa Rica. While school did not start until Jan. 23, Osborn came to Costa Rica Jan. 2 so she could adjust and see some of the sights before she started teaching.
Osborn is also slowly being eased into the teaching world as she has begun teaching Social Studies this week. With each week, she will add on a subject until March, where she will be in full control for three weeks and then begin a gradual decrease of control. Additionally, her cooperating teacher, with over 30 years of experience, has been a blessing for her and even has already let Osborn help grade papers, decorate the classroom, and lead an art activity among a variety of other tasks around the classroom.
While Osborn likes to note this positives of her experiences so far, things have not been easy and carefree all of the time.
“God has instilled in me a sense of adventure, risk taking, and a great love for people and children,” Osborn explained. “However, in coming to Costa Rica I realized that I was withdrawing from many of these things. God showed me that I was dealing with “miedo”-the Spanish word for fear.”
Osborn also has to overcome a cultural barrier with her students. She said she has to put herself in the shoes of her students to make sure they are on the same page.
Osborn has stayed in touch with some of her professors from TIU, asking for advice on how to handle certain situations. Finally, Osborn has started a blog to share her experiences with her friends and family back in the States.
Swanson and Osborn will continue to gain valuable experience student teaching in their respective countries before they begin the hunt for teaching jobs.