Exchange allows teachers to develop a unique personal pedagogy

It is organisations such as the Canadian League for Educational Exchange (CLEE) that make being an Aussie on exchange in Canada so worthwhile.

Being part of CLEE allows for connections and experiences that would otherwise be out of reach. The Burgess family – like other Australian exchange families, converged on the nation’s capital mid May for the annual CLEE Ottawa Spring Conference.

Friday morning saw us getting into local classrooms as we visited both Bridlewood Elementary School and Sir Guy Carleton Secondary School. Being afforded this unique opportunity to teach in and experience two educational systems on opposite sides of the planet, goes to the core of developing a rich and unique personal pedagogy.

Lunch at Malone’s Restaurant came next. With Dow’s Lake glistening under a spring sun on one side and the plethora of tulips carpeting the landscape on the other, we enjoyed great food and excellent company.

After a little time to freshen up and the chance to don some smarter apparel, us Aussies headed to the Australian Embassy. There we were met by the High Commissioner herself, Natasha Smith. Her Excellency graciously hosted us for the afternoon as we ate, drank and networked in a truly wonderful environment.

The remainder of our Friday showcased why this exchange program has continued to flourish all these years. CLEE members Gord and Leanne Elliot invited us back to their home for a sublime dinner and evening together.

Saturday saw us tour Parliament Hill with its breathtaking neo-gothic architecture. Within easy view of the Parliament is Victoria Island. Here we learnt about the history of the first nations through folklore exhibits, an exemplary dance presentation and traditional lunch.

A leisurely bicycle ride along Ottawa’s canals saw out the afternoon. Dinner at Tuckers Market Place brought the invigorating CLEE Ottawa Spring Conference to a close.

Philip Burgess of St Paul's Rutherford, is on exchange in Montreal.