Jesse majored in Elementary education with a focus in social science. A Glenview, Illinois native (just north of Chicago), he admits he was, “not used to beaches and warm weather every day like they have in the Bahamas.” When Jesse enrolled in the Science & Schooling Study Abroad program in the Bahamas, he joined his classmates on Andros Island for ten days. Led my Dr. Dan Carter and Dr. Marilyn Lisowski, Jesse expected he would have some fun and report back with some amazing experiences. He had no idea a job opportunity would come from this ten day adventure.
He says, “My parents were supportive of me studying abroad there but they saw it as a fun way to take some extra classes over the summer. So when I came back and told them I wanted to teach abroad, they were obviously shocked.” Jesse credits his time on Andros Island as opportunity to think about what he valued as a teacher. “There are many things I took for granted that many people do not have.”
What surprised him the most? The use of technology: “Just because we can create lessons on computers and guide activities with the use of a smart board, does not make it a good lesson.” Future teachers come from a generation dependent on smart phones and smart boards, but Jesse hopes they will be able to use technology in a more practical manner, not as a crutch. “I believe students learn best when they can have hands on learning experiences and sometimes the use of technology can get in the way.”
This unexpected return to the Bahamas is not all palm trees and clear waters. Jesse admits that going back to the Bahamas will be a major change from his experience as a study abroad student. “Living on New Providence is going to be much different than being a visitor on Andros. I will have to gain the respect of the students from day one instead of visiting an already established classroom. One of the biggest differences is when I was last in the Bahamas I was [being] influenced in many different ways. Now, I hope to be influencing others and passing on the information that I know.”
Jesse’s assignment will take him to an independent preparatory school in New Providence called Tambearly School. He knew he wanted to teach abroad, but found that many programs requested at least two years of teaching experience. In regard to finding his position, Jesse credits the world’s favorite search engine, Google: “I found this position with a little luck, some frustration, and a lot of searching. After a lot of time looking I finally decided to just google the top ten elementary schools in the Bahamas and email the school directly. I sent out three or four emails to some of the schools on that list informing them that I was a new teacher who had studied abroad in the Bahamas and was looking for a job there.”
Not thinking that anything would pan out, Jesse was surprised to see a return email from Tambearly within a few days, requesting a resume and some additional information. The principal, an American who grew up in the U.S. hires teachers from all over the world, and called Jesse to offer a phone interview about a fourth grade position. Students attending Tambearly hail from a variety of areas, which appealed to Jesse in terms of its diverse student body.
This year while his peers begin their work in the U.S., Jesse will be teaching a fourth grade class, be a swim instructor, and be working to create a new club for the school. He says, “All of the teachers and parents are really involved with the school which makes everyone there seem like a big family.”
With his new found role abroad, Jesse’s advises future study abroad students “to keep an open mind and try new things.” He admits, “Before studying in the Bahamas I had no intentions of teaching abroad. But, my time on Andros opened up a whole new world of experiences and I would not change a thing.”
Congrats, Jesse! Best of luck to you in your new school.
If you’d like to talk to Jesse about his experiences abroad, or learn more about the Science & Schooling program, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org