Teaching Beyond Borders
An Education Major Prepared to Teach in the World’s Most Fragile Contexts
The thing about grace is that there’s no place it can’t go.
This includes the overcrowded and unsanitary refugee camps in Moria, Greece.
The reception center in Moria–a refuge to families and individuals who have fled hardship, war, persecution, and conflict zones in some of the most dangerous countries on earth–is where Grace College Education major Aubrey McQuade has been teaching for the past year.
“When I first arrived on the island of Lesbos in Greece, there were nearly 4,000 refugees in the camp. Since then, the number has more than quadrupled, and over 18,000 people are trapped in the camp,” said Aubrey.
In the midst of the chaotic growth, Aubrey and the organization she is partnering with, TeachBeyond Borders, create educational opportunities for children so that they are better prepared to re-enter formal schooling. The classes are designed as a school readiness program, where children can learn the structure of a school day and be taught subjects such as English, math, art and a little Greek.
“Our classroom becomes a space for children to learn and to heal and to enjoy being kids again,” she said.
Aubrey’s role has evolved over the course of her year there. She has served as Curriculum Developer/Lead Teacher, Program Researcher and Developer, Team Lead, Social Media Coordinator, and Program Fundraiser. Aubrey’s ever-changing role has caused her to reflect on how she was prepared to fulfill these various roles during her time at Grace.
When Aubrey walked across the stage in May of 2015, she did not realize all the ways God was shaping her and training her to enter into one of the most fragile contexts in the world.
Prepared to Teach
As an education major at Grace, Aubrey was taught how to effectively create a lesson plan and develop curriculum. She specifically appreciated Dr. Laurie Owen’s instruction, “She created the perfect blend of fun and craziness, in a classroom while also demanding growth and excellence!”
After Aubrey graduated, she landed a job here in Warsaw and collected three years of teaching experience. “I’m also very grateful to have had those years of teaching behind me with resources to pull from,” she said.
Prepared to Learn
“Schram’s love of learning and passion for teaching inspired me to love learning! Her understanding of the world and her experience living cross-culturally really encouraged me in my own walk! She is such an intentional and humble leader with genuine care for her students,” Aubrey remarked. “Plus she is a fashion icon and classy to boot!” she added.
Prepared to Research
Toward the end of her education, Aubrey fulfilled her student teaching requirement at William Carey Academy in Bangladesh. The school was being taken over by TeachBeyond at the time, giving her exposure to TeachBeyond’s mission and practice.
Aubrey reflected on the specific benefits of her time in Bangladesh, “My student teaching placement abroad teaching international kids in Bangladesh gave me experience in program research and initiative-taking.” These skills were crucial in her role as Program Researcher and Developer.
Prepared to Communicate
As a liberal arts college, Grace places a strong emphasis on the arts. Many courses here necessitate formal presentation delivery and clear communication. This was a vital experience for Aubrey in all of her roles and specifically as a Social Media Coordinator. “Communication is a huge part of working in these fluctuating roles, making sure that our bases are covered, and we are learning from the challenges we’ve faced,” she said.
Prepared to Adapt
“I’ve found myself thinking back on the StrengthsFinder assessment I took in First Year Foundations where Flexibility was one of my top strengths,” said Aubrey. Being flexible and adaptable is vital. As Aubrey works in a fairly new company with families in a hotspot, elements are always changing. TeachBeyond is constantly looking for ways to grow, develop, and better its programs for the families as they learn from them. One way Grace College equips teachers to be adaptable is through its teacher technology training which prepares students to utilize effective online platforms in the classroom.
Prepared to Love
“When I welcome students with my open arms and smiles each day, I pray they would be touched by not just my love but the love of our Father,” Aubrey said.
And thus, Grace has found its way to the darkest parts of the world.
There’s no place it can’t go.