Grace Alumni Experience the World Teaching Internationally
If you walked into a classroom in every country in the world, you would likely see vastly different set ups, resources, management techniques, and communication styles. These discrepancies exist because of cultural differences and educational expectations. Although there is international diversity in education, we know that pedagogical expertise, adaptability, and passion for students are universal.
Three Grace alumni reflect these universal and integral qualities as international teachers: Zoe Marsh, Elizabeth Barge, and Anna Jank. The experience of teaching in an international setting is full of exciting opportunities and growth points. Let’s hear all about it from the teachers themselves.
Major: French Education
Teaching Abroad Location: Black Forest Academy in Kandern, Germany
Teaching Assignment: High School French I and II
“My journey to Black Forest Academy started back when I was a senior in high school. I was unsure what God wanted me to do with my life. I felt the Lord specifically speak over me, ‘One day you can teach missionary kids French.’ During my first semester of senior year, I participated in an online Teach Beyond conference. I went on their website, and the second job on the list said ‘French Teacher needed at Black Forest Academy.’ After much prayer, I joined my sending organization, Greater Europe Mission, in raising full support amidst student teaching and completing my senior project. My favorite thing about teaching internationally is the outside-of-the-classroom experiences! I am planning several field trips to France, which is only 20 minutes away, where my students can be immersed in the French language. They have such an incredible opportunity to actually speak and hear native French speakers, which is such a challenge to obtain in a French classroom in the United States. The education I received at Grace College prepared me so well for my job here. Lesson planning and running a classroom has surprisingly been fun, rather than stressful. I know this is because of the great hands-on experiences and observations I participated in during my three years at Grace. The French language program under Dr. Lindsey Richter also prepared me and gave me the confidence I needed to teach a foreign language.”
Major: Elementary Education
Teaching Abroad Location: Casa Dorca, a children’s home in Romania
Teaching Assignment: Teaching boys and girls ages 11-21 at a children’s group home
“I had thought about teaching internationally, but I didn’t pursue it during college or right after finishing school. One summer, I wanted to spend some time volunteering at an orphanage to see if long-term orphan care was something God was calling me to. I asked a friend who had gone on a Go Encounter trip with Dr. Rata if she had any connections to the children’s home in Romania that they had visited. She connected me with the director, and I ended up spending a month in Romania. When I got back to Indiana, I couldn’t stop thinking about Romania. I started looking for teaching opportunities so I could be closer to the kids I had met. Finally, after two years of searching, I joined TeachBeyond and moved to Romania to teach at an international Christian school. That only lasted a year though, because my heart was really for the less fortunate. Three years ago I made the transition to working full-time at the children’s home I originally visited. My current job has me working with children in small groups and one-on-one over a series of years. It’s not a typical educational setting, but I enjoy it because I’ve been able to build lasting relationships with these children over time. It’s been rewarding to see a child master reading or multiplication facts and gain confidence after struggling for years. After teaching overseas in a Christian school, I appreciate being ACSI-licensed and knowing how to integrate faith into each lesson topic. I look back on my time at Grace and remember fondly the literacy classes I took with Dr. Hoffert. I remember them being applicable, informative, and enjoyable!”
Major: History Education
Teaching Abroad Location: Eastern China
Teaching Assignment: High School Social Studies and Philosophy
“I had not always wanted to teach internationally. My path to China started through the Go Encounter trip I went on my freshman year at Grace to Greece and France. My junior year of college, I made the spontaneous decision to sign up for Grace’s semester exchange program with Handong Global University in South Korea. It changed my life. I fell in love with an international church where I could hear the Lord praised in dozens of languages. It was through one of my education classes that I first heard of the school organization in China & the UAE that I currently teach under. Then, when I was seriously scouting for jobs in my final year of college, I came across it again. It ticked all the boxes: its foundation, its aim, and what would be asked of me. One of my favorite things about teaching internationally is the exposure I receive. I get to hear so many first-hand accounts about lands I’ve never seen in accents that make me smile. My worldview has been so radically expanded. The School of Education at Grace College did a great job at making the concept of teaching with service, love, and grace at the center. I know I came into the program with the ambition of wanting to practice both compassionate and effective pedagogy. However, having an ambition is different than being equipped to fulfill that ambition. I think Grace offered some really meaningful classes that not only gave students the practical tools they needed, but the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ such tools fulfill both educational and heart goals.”
Have you ever considered teaching abroad? Do you want an education that will equip you with the skills you need for teaching internationally? Check out our education program to learn more today.
Prior to teaching abroad, you might be interested in testing your skills in an international setting. Learn more about the option to student teach abroad by reading the stories of a current student and an alumnus.