Although this year’s workshop looked a bit different than in pervious years, the 2019-2020 cohort of exchange teachers participated in the Spring Leadership Workshop, which is intended to further prepare them for their return home by encouraging them to reflect on their experiences as exchange teachers in the U.S. and to think about how they can implement the skills they have learned during their exchange once they return home.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spring Leadership Workshop this year took place entirely online. Yet, just like in previous years, TCLP exchange teachers participated in sessions on anticipating and surmounting reverse culture shock, alumni programing through the U.S. Department of State, global competence, and educational leadership. As this year’s participants prepare for their next steps as program alumni, the goal is that they will take the training they received throughout this workshop, and indeed the whole year, to apply the instructional methods they adopted in the U.S. to their classrooms, provide professional training to colleagues, and establish connections between their home schools and their U.S. host schools. This year also gave the group a chance to reflect on how they have successfully been able to use technology to continue providing excellent teaching to their students and how they might continue doing so after returning home.
Although this cohort of educators faced unexpected and unprecedented changes, this year’s TCLP teachers collectively taught over 4,300 students and conducted nearly 1,900 hours of outreach to share their language and culture with their communities across America. Through these outreach activities, exchange teachers served as cultural ambassadors to their U.S. host communities in feeder schools, universities, senior centers, libraries, and community organizations. Additionally, beginning in March more than 75% of TCLP teachers provided online instruction to their students to continue sharing their language and culture even when schools were closed. This dynamic and courageous group of educators is eager to apply their knowledge and skills once they return to their home countries.