After spending a year in the U.S., TCLP teachers demonstrate established leadership skills in the classroom and stand poised to emerge fully as leaders in their school and community at home. The Virtual Spring Leadership Workshop on May 6-8, 2015 provided current TCLP participants with an opportunity to reflect on their experiences as exchange teachers in the U.S. and prepare for their return home as teacher leaders.
For the first time in TCLP history, the May workshop was conducted virtually. This three-day event was hosted in Washington, D.C. and accessed by teachers in their host communities via the internet. The workshop featured sessions conducted by Dr. Gary Weaver of American University, Dr. Scott Bauer of George Mason University, representatives from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and American Councils staff.
Presenters engaged TCLP teachers in discussions on reverse culture shock, ways to incorporate new leadership skills and knowledge into their educational communities at home, and future opportunities available to them as State Department exchange program alumni.
“To be honest, when I was told our spring workshop changed to be a virtual workshop, I wasn't happy” said Xiong Jun of Audubon Charter School in Louisiana. “But it turns out I am wrong, instead, it's a great experience.”
Teachers also presented plans to cultivate partner relationships between their U.S. host schools and home schools in China and Egypt through small-scale collaborative projects. Proposed projects included pen pal exchanges, target-language story-telling, a cross-country environmental protection program, and teacher training workshops. Exchange teachers prepared action plans with concrete steps that will enable them to enact a partnership between their home schools and U.S. host schools as teacher leaders.