In February, the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch welcomed 12 Canadian and US exchange teachers to NSW and the ACT. The official welcome reception was held at the Department of Education’s offices in Parramatta with the welcome and opening address given by Mark Scott, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education. His topic was ‘Current Directions in Education’.
While the visiting exchange teachers enjoyed networking with other exchange teachers placed in government schools and all adjusting to their ‘culture shock’, their spouses and children were given a cultural exchange experience themselves – a historical walking tour or Parramatta. The exchange teachers were also given some extra Australian cultural’ assistance by the Department of Environment, Parks and Wildlife.
The IEU Exchange Coordinator, Helen Gregory, briefed those exchangees teaching in Catholic, Catholic independent and independent schools on the differences between the government and the non government sector – many exchange teachers teaching in Catholic schools in NSW and ACT are from public schools in Canada and Colorado.
The exchange teachers were also briefed by Anne Comber, President of the NSW Exchange Teachers League, on utilising their exchange experiences. The league and its members have worked tirelessly for many years supporting newly arrived exchange teachers and their families, as well as those exchange teachers who have recently returned from a year away on exchange.
The day culminated with cake cutting (see Mark Northam pictured right) and a light supper celebrating 100 years of NSW Department of Education teacher exchanges. The program commenced in 1920 to promote international goodwill and an understanding of different cultures. This focus continues for the IEU, along with professional and personal development for participating teachers, and the educational enrichment with host schools and systems for the ultimate benefit of students in preparation for global citizenship.
The NSW ETL is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2020 and will be joining the DET celebrating 100 years of government exchanges. The IEU is celebrating 35 years of non government exchanges at a function on Saturday 21 March at the Mercure Sydney. Many past and present IEU exchange teachers will be in attendance.