As I was preparing to leave for my teaching exchange in Canada, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I knew that it would be a wonderful experience. I had always wanted to spend time teaching overseas, so for me, an exchange was the perfect opportunity to teach in another context, while being able to return to my school in Australia at the end of the year.
As my time in Canada is drawing to a close and I’m preparing to head home, I can’t believe how this year has surpassed my expectations in every possible way.
I have spent the year living in London, Ontario. Teaching in an elementary school in Canada has been filled with experiences that would be hard to come by in Australia. I’ve learnt that yard duty and outdoor gym can actually be surprisingly pleasant in subzero temperatures.
Throwing boomerangs in the snow with my class, going to the local ski hill for a field trip and introducing the staff and students to the joys of Tim Tams, fairy bread and ANZAC biscuits will become memories that I will cherish for many years to come.
Many people have commented that I’ve been able to see more of Canada and the USA in one year than they have in a lifetime. Only having one year to see everywhere has really encouraged me to make the most of my weekends and the long summer holidays.
This year has taken me to places like New York, Nashville, Kentucky, Vancouver, the Canadian Rockies, Alaska, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Going skiing after school, kayaking among icebergs in Alaska, seeing moose and bears in the wild, canoeing along glacial lakes and rivers, ice skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, ice fishing and camping in some of the most beautiful places have all contributed to making 2019 the adventure of a lifetime.
I am extremely grateful to the people who have made this exchange possible, including my principal in Australia, Helen Gregory from the IEU, my exchange partner, and my Canadian colleagues. I have really valued this professional experience and have been able to gather new ideas and strategies that I’m looking forward to implementing in my teaching in Australia.