It truly was an amazing experience, I got to learn so much about the world and education. Norway is in the top 20 best education systems in the world, so it was an amazing opportunity to see the differences between the school systems in Norway and in the U.S. I met so many new people and experienced so many new things, I will remember this experience for the rest of my life!
There was one student in one of my classes that didn't really participate in class, if he didn't get his way he would stop doing what he was supposed to be doing and then mess around during class. The class was making videos about comparisons and differences of Norway and the U.S. The students partner was not there, so he said he wasn't going to do anything because he didn't want to do the whole thing by himself. I sat down with him and we talked and eventually I got him to do some of the work. I encouraged him and gave him that little extra push that he needed to get his work done. Then when it came down to recording the video, he took charge and was telling his partner what to do, it was a complete switch from someone that didn't want to do anything to actually taking charge and being the leader. After that, every class that he had he kept asking for me and asked the other teachers if I was going to be joining their class. It felt amazing knowing that I made an impact on this student. He is a smart kid and just needed that little bit of encouragement and extra push. I learned that even the students that misbehave or don't follow directions all the time, sometimes all they need is someone to give them that little push in the right direction and encouragement.
I have done so many memorable things on my trip, but I think the most memorable experience was when the whole school took a day off of classes and went on a hike for the day. It was a great way to interact with the students and do something active. I had a great time joking around with the students, learning more about the culture, and interacting with students that I normally wouldn't see because they weren't in my class.
What did you not expect?
I was very surprised with how the students have their classroom, then the teacher switch depending on what subject they are learning. The class have two main teachers that they stay with, each teacher teaches multiple subjects. For example, one teacher would teach: math, P.E., and science. While the other teacher would teach: Norwegian, cooking, society, and religion. Then there would be another teacher that comes in that teaches english, but the class would stay with those teachers. I like that because it allows the teachers to build the relationship with those students and vice versa, the students are more comfortable in class and are willing to participate more.
What advice would you give?
Definitely do it! It is an amazing opportunity, I have learned so much about myself and how to be a better educator. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything, I have made so many memories and met so many amazing people. This is one of the best experiences of my life and I am going to remember this forever!
How has this experience impacted your life?
I have learned so much from this experience, especially how important building relationships with the students affects their learning. The first two months at the school, they don't give any homework or tests, they focus on building a relationship with the students so they feel comfortable with the teachers and the other students in the class. It was amazing to see how much the students cared about each other, in one of my lessons there was a girl that was too shy to participate, but her classmates cheered her on and she got the courage to participate. This experience has helped me learn how important for an educator to build those relationships with their students to make them feel comfortable and want to be in class.
How did you learn about this experience?
As I was approaching the semester of student teaching, we had a lot of informational meetings and in one of the meetings they mentioned teaching abroad. I was very interested in learning more about the program, so I attended the international student teaching open house.International Connections