Teaching Worlds Apart

When thinking about the world as a whole, it seems wildly vast and distant from Omaha, Nebraska. Across the globe, education not only in Nebraska is essential but education everywhere is a much-needed skill to have in life. When thinking about the education we receive it is challenging to pinpoint exactly which way is the “right” way of learning. 

Spanish Teacher Jonathan Nelson taught in Colombia for 3 years before becoming a teacher at MN. Having the opportunity to further not only his Spanish teaching but also his speaking skills, he genuinely enjoyed working with students. 

“One of the main differences is that in Colombia and other Latin American countries, teachers are highly respected by everyone. Their occupation and role in the community are valued in the same regard as lawyers and doctors.  After being a teacher in Houston and now in Omaha, I have unfortunately noticed that teachers are viewed at quite a different level than abroad,” Nelson said. 

Though dealing with the difficulties of not only being in a new environment but also getting to different ways of teaching students, in Colombia students were more willing to learn. 

Though still close to home, family and consumer science teacher Jana Georgius had the opportunity this summer to teach students English in Omaha. In this class, she would teach students who didn’t speak English as their first language how to read and write.

“English is an extremely difficult language to learn and it’s hard to see the students struggle and understand the reasoning at times for why our language is this or that way or why we spell things a specific way that doesn’t sound how it looks,” Georgius said.

In the end, it was very difficult for the students to move to a new country and not miss their families. At the end of summer school, the students had a project on what their favorite song was. For most, this was very difficult because it expresses who they are and what culture is like at home. Some students would become upset because this made them miss their families. Most of her students were from Afghanistan so they were far from home. 

“I cannot imagine moving to an entirely new country and having to learn another language and how to survive in a different culture.  In my small classroom, some students were excited to learn, but some of the students didn’t want to be there and didn’t care to learn English,” Georgius said.

Science teacher Philip Manley spent one school year teaching in the Philippines. When teaching there he had the opportunity to find out how much different and similar education can be.

“I loved the experience of being in a different country. The school was really amazing. It was an international school, so there were students from all over the world there,” Manley said. 

When living there he learned that it is mildly similar to schools like MN. One similarity is that they had an IB program just like MN has implemented. Though a difference in that is that IB in Millard North is an option school route that you would be able to take, in the school in the Philippines all classes were IB. 

When Manley taught in the Philippines all the classes were mainly in English and most of the teachers were from the Western Hemisphere. Some struggles he had when teaching was that he was teaching classes he never taught before and learning a new routine. Another difficulty was being away from home. Though they had a lot of the same things like food and the culture, it didn’t feel like the sweet home of the rolling hills of Nebraska. 

“I missed my family, I didn’t miss being away, like away from the United States,” Manley said 

After learning about different experiences all can see though education can be widely vast and different, it’s what brings us together in the end.