The greatest challenge that I had when I first came to Australia was getting used to their accents and slang-which initially seemed very daunting, especially since I am deaf! It definitely helped me to be even more in tune to context clues and the way people were speaking, and after only a few days, it wasn’t much of a challenge anymore!
If anything, my overseas placement was full of surprises! I found myself impressed with all of the adapting that I was doing, and how much smoother things were for me than I had expected them to be. It wasn’t much of a surprise that I was able to think on my feet to create alternatives when technology was non-interactive, but more so in the quality of the alternatives that I came up with and how well they worked! I was also surprised with the close alignment between the AusVELS curriculum and the Common Core, which helped me tremendously in my planning, teaching, observations, and learning! When I found out that I would be teaching in multiple classrooms (four!) for different amounts of time, I had no idea what to expect. But, since I approached each setting with an open mind and a positive attitude, I created valuable learning experiences for myself that have truly helped me grow.
I am really proud of all of the things I have accomplished while I was here in Australia, and how much I have grown both professionally and personally. I have developed a calm and collected management style (yet still fun!), that, in conjunction with my ability to easily build relationships with students, has allowed the content to follow suit in a smooth fashion. I have really shown initiative, by jumping right in to take advantage of learning and teaching opportunities presented to me by building relationships with the staff members. This proved to be invaluable for collaboration, communication, and overall support. I have collected numerous tools to add to my belt in terms of recording assessment, expressing my expectations, management techniques, and of course, different display and classroom setup ideas! The final thing that I think could be considered my greatest accomplishment, is that I eliminated a lot of my self doubt, and now have a renewed confidence in who I am as an educator, and even more importantly, as a person.