Sept. 12, 2017
TAB in Spain: Q&A with Ali Coutts
What do you hope to gain personally and professionally from this experience?
I hope to gain more experience and confidence in the classroom, as well as a deeper insight into various practices and cultures in the field of education. To me this opportunity is like an additional field placement, which will only benefit me going forward in my career. Being able to experience more time in a classroom and working with students will allow me to grow professionally. This additional hands-on experience will further build my confidence in the classroom and will allow me to further develop my skills and knowledge as an educator. I know that the job market for teachers in Alberta (and across Canada) is heavily saturated, so TAB will allow me to stand out from other applicants and will give me a broader skillset to use when entering into my first teaching job. Also, having the opportunity to immerse myself into a classroom in another country will give me great insight into the different aspects of education and schools within another culture. It will be interesting to see the different approaches to teaching as compared to my Canadian field placements.
What do you hope people in your host country will gain from your involvement in TAB?
I hope that those I encounter in my host country will learn from me as much as I learn from them. Education isn’t a one way street, and it doesn’t just happen in classrooms. Education happens all around us with everyone we encounter. I want to provide insight to teachers and faculty on my experiences in the Canadian classroom, and the positives and negatives that we experience in the education field in Canada. The education network shouldn’t stop at the border. It is important to learn from other countries in order to provide the best educational approach for our students. I want to spark curiosity within the students I meet. I want them to develop a desire to explore, travel, and step outside of their comfort zone due to my influence on them. By doing so, I hope to further their personal and academic growth.
What are you doing/ have you done to prepare either personally or professionally for this experience?
To prepare for this experience I have begun learning Spanish. Although that is not necessary, I feel it is important to have somewhat of an understanding of the host country’s language. I have also taken the time to brainstorm potential learning activities for my future students to participate in. These activity ideas have come as a result of my participation in TAB workshops and my own personal research. Furthermore, I’ve spent the past few months learning as much as possible about the culture and norms of Spain to eliminate some of the potential culture shock I may experience. Additionally, I’ve spent time following the necessary and recommended TAB steps to prepare myself such as downloading the International SOS app, registering my trip with the Canadian government, completing two summer courses, etc.
Why did you choose the country you will be travelling to?
I chose to travel to Spain for numerous reasons. One being that the placement in Spain allows for more teaching opportunities than some of the other countries. I really want to get the most out of this experience that I can, so I felt that it was important to choose a country that allowed that. I will be able to further develop my skills and classroom confidence in this location. Also, I am fascinated with the culture. Spain’s culture is a strong symbol within the country. The heritage runs deep and includes resilient traditions that encompass art, architecture, history, festivals, music and cuisine which I am excited to experience. Their culture and lifestyle is so different than Canada, so I wanted to opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and have an eye opening experience that would allow me to grow both personally and professionally. Lastly, I have a few friends that have travelled to Spain and they all stated that it was one of their favourite countries, so I was eager to experience it for myself.